The Office of Faculty Development

Classroom Climate & Environment

Classroom climate, or environment, refers to the myriad of physical and cognitive spaces within which learning takes place. Intentionally, or unintentionally, every course has its own environment. When purposefully crafted, and from a student centered perspective, classroom environment can aid in both instruction and learning. Considering the varied marginalized groups represented in the Chico State student body, crafting a classroom environment that feels safe and open to students from all backgrounds is integral to an equitable learning experience. 

Expand All | Collapse All


    Examine selected research on classroom climate/environment. 

    Classroom environment strategies. Center for Teaching Innovation. in new window)

    Macsuga-Gage, A. S., Simonsen, B., & Briere, D. E. (2012). Effective Teaching Practices: Effective Teaching Practices that Promote a Positive Classroom Environment. Beyond Behavior22(1), 14–22. in new window)

    Harvey, S. T., Bimler, D., Evans, I. M., Kirkland, J., & Pechtel, P. (2012). Mapping the classroom emotional environment. Teaching and Teacher Education28(4), 628–640. in new window)

    Jones, B. D., Miyazaki, Y., Li, M., & Biscotte, S. (2022). Motivational Climate Predicts Student Evaluations of Teaching: Relationships Between Students’ Course Perceptions, Ease of Course, and Evaluations of Teaching. AERA Open8, 233285842110731-. in new window)

    Book Review: Creating the Path to Success in the Classroom: Teaching to Close the Graduation Gap for Minority, First-Generation, and Academically Unprepared Students. (2019). EJournal of Public Affairs7(3). in new window)


    Ready to apply classroom climate/environment to your teaching? Here are some ideas and strategies to get you started:

    1. Set the tone by clearly setting expectations and guidelines for the course and decorum within the classroom. Although it is not necessary to prohibit controversial topics, standards for how controversial topics are talked about should be established.
    2. Ask students to participate in the process of establishing class norms and rules of engagement for discussion.
    3. Make the structure of the classroom welcoming by engaging with students and being approachable. Engage in conversations with students before and after class. Call students by name. Share appropriate information about yourself with your students. Present yourself as an agent of support. 
    4. Be as clear as possible about the expectations for assignments and what is necessary to be successful in the course. Transparency will mitigate anxiety and confusion. 
    5. Establish a class environment where students can build their own agency
    6. Lead discussions on course material by being open to varied opinions and asking open-ended follow-up questions. Moderating discussions can aid in bridging misunderstandings amongst students and of the course material. 
    7. Get to know your students.