Developing a Positive Climate with Trust and Respect


1. A school climate which is inviting, accepting, invigorating, respectful and empowering sets a wonderful stage in which social problem solving can thrive!

Bill Preble and Rick Gordon say this about transforming school climate and learning, which is at the heart of social reform:

“We are convinced that the time is now ripe for refocusing our attention on school climate, safety, and respect and the important effects that these have on students’ personal intellectual, social, and civic development. Its roots can be found deep within the humanistic traditions of our culture and are tied directly to the compelling new research on human development, the brain, and what we now understand about how people learn.”

Preble, B., & Gordon, R. (2011). Transforming school climate and learning: Beyond bullying and compliance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Amazon’s summary says that this book details a comprehensive process for empowering students and teachers as school improvement leaders and experts. Bill Preble and Rick Gordon explain how schools can use the SafeMeasures collaborative action research process to:

  • Collect and analyze school climate data
  • Develop improvement goals
  • Create exciting and inspiring action plans to dramatically improve their schools’ climate and student engagement

Each chapter features success stories from real schools, strategies and implementation activities, and book study questions that help all stakeholders transform both their school climate and student learning.

2. Students current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the setting to impact learning.

Students are not only intellectual but also social and emotional beings, and they are still developing the full range of intellectual, social, and emotional skills. While we cannot control the developmental process, we can shape the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical aspects of classroom climate in developmentally appropriate ways. In fact, many studies have shown that the climate we create has implications for our students. A negative climate may impede learning and performance, but a positive climate can energize students’ learning.

Theory and Research-based Principles of Learning from Carnegie Mellon Eberly Center: