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Bully-Proofing Your Classroom:
The Influence of Classroom Meetings
on Performance Indicators
Understanding Classroom Meetings
In today’s educational systems, students come from a variety of diverse populations. Class meetings foster class cohesion and community, as well as teach students how to handle bullying situations as they arise. They also afford students the opportunity to understand their roles in building a safe school community, the importance of respecting each other’s differences, and the acceptance of others.
Class meetings are also an avenue created by the classroom teacher to create a safe and respectful learning environment. Creating an environment of mutual respect between the teacher and the students is essential to developing a positive classroom community. Classroom meetings help support and promote a warm atmosphere where ideas are shared and concerns are resolved.
In conjunction with supporting a warm, safe environment, classroom meetings build and enhance:
Overall, class meetings help students make good choices both in and out of the school setting. This becomes a positive, powerful teaching tool for students.
- A positive classroom environment
- Positive peer relationships
- An appreciation of differences
- Listening and communication skills
- An overall sense of community within each classroom and the school as a whole.
Classroom Meeting Relevant Research and Effectiveness
Over the years, classroom meetings have been researched as an effective teaching/learning tool for students. Commiskey (1993) studied the effectiveness of classroom meetings for reducing student dropouts. This study consisted of 15 ninth-grade students who were considered at risk for dropping out of school. These students participated in 12 weekly classroom meetings. The focus of these meetings was to enhance the students’ thinking, speaking, and listening skills. The results of this study indicated that the students who participated in the weekly meetings reported a more positive school attitude, increased academic achievement, as well as increased levels of self-esteem.
A second study by Frey (1997) examined the effect of classroom meetings on the development of a student’s social skills. Students in grades one and three participated in 25 weekly classroom meetings. Each meeting lasted 30 minutes. These students learned to use “I” statements, developed problem-solving skills, and learned how to compromise. The meetings gave the students the skill set to become independent problem solvers and communicators.
Building a peaceful classroom may also have the potential to build the student’s self-esteem. In a research paper by Covelens (2009), the impact of developing and implementing a peaceful classroom community on the self-esteem of sixth grade students was evaluated throughout a four month period; students participated in classroom activities that focused on team building, values, empathy, and self-esteem. The outcome of this study concluded that the students’ self-esteem levels increased, growth occurred in student academic achievement, and the frequency of students using unkind and hurtful words decreased.
These studies reiterate the benefits of classroom meetings and the positive effects they have on students, staff, and school community as a whole.
The Minnesota Bullying Prevention Initiative is a partnership of the
Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, the National Association
of Elementary School Principals, and Hazelden.
Understanding Bullying Prevention
can we effectively and compassionately address the needs of children
who are being bullied, children who are
bullying, children who are bystanders, and the adults around them?
is from a series of articles by Hazelden -- examining the issue of
prevention and offering strong, workable solutions.