Haiti PD Program: Module 2

Module 2: Promoting Positive Relationships in the Classroom 



This module will focus on promoting positive relationships in the classroom by creating a safe and inclusive atmosphere for learning which will ensure education for all without any discrimination. It will guide the trainer to engage trainee teachers in different activities so that they will learn how to set and modify varied strategies to ensure positive interdependence and respect among students which will promote civic and social values, create responsible citizens committed to society. 



At the end of this session trainees will learn ---

• How to create a safe and inclusive atmosphere for learning in the class and also in school community.

• How to implement and modify varied strategies to ensure positive interdependence and respect among students.

• How to respond to individual student needs and establish a healthy rapport with students.


Instructions for Trainer

Warm-up: (10 minutes)

Tell the trainee teachers to form pairs with the person beside him/her and to share three good qualities of that person which he/she observed. So both members of that pair will take turns to talk about each other’s good qualities. Now ask the trainee teachers how they felt when they heard about their good qualities from another person. Did they feel happy or sad? It is obvious if someone talks good about you or appreciate any of your good work, you will feel enlightened, happy and encouraged. Likewise when you appreciate any of the good work of your students or provide positive feedback, they feel encouraged and become positively motivated and inspired. 

Session 1: 

How to create a safe and inclusive atmosphere for learning in the class and also in the school community 


Introduction: 20 minutes

➢ Tell the trainee teachers what an inclusive classroom environment means, briefly present the ideas of the following text-1 & 2:


Reading 1: What Is An Inclusive Environment?





An inclusive learning environment is one in which all those participating feel able to actively engage, feel safe and feel welcome. An inclusive learning environment also acknowledges and celebrates difference as a part of everyday life.

Safe Environments

All students come to situations where they may struggle.  Children in inclusive classrooms realize that this is a natural part of learning.  Asking for help is expected and encouraged.  Teachers model how they handle their own challenges by using ‘think-aloud’.  Children begin to embrace difficulties in a problem-solving approach.  They are taught to pay attention to their own needs for support and to their own learning styles.  Over time, children, both with and without disabilities come to recognize their differences and yet they see them as ordinary.


There is a fundamental belief in inclusive classrooms that all individuals are communicative, however, communication can take on many different forms.  Within inclusive classrooms, individuals have the opportunity to learn how to communicate with individuals who may communicate in non-traditional ways.  In addition, students have access to multiple ways of expressing themselves and understanding others. 



Sign Languages

Some children with disabilities need other forms of communication than the more common oral or writing/reading literate exchanges within classrooms. 




Many individuals, who have significant communication difficulties, use alternative means of communication, such as switches, sign language, facilitated communication, picture exchange, communication picture cards, Braille  .  

Again, teachers themselves can grow in their knowledge and expertise with using these different forms of communication.  For those teachers who are not familiar with these forms of communication, they can benefit from observing such interactions between those who do and they could learn to use them.  




Collaboration plays a key role in inclusive classrooms.  Students are taught and encouraged to work together and support one another.  In addition to students working together, teachers must also find ways to work with other professionals and educators, to meet the needs of all children.  When students with more complex needs are included in a general education classroom, teachers can communicate with different health care organizations who are providing supports for special need kids with Assistive Technology, experts or therapists that have been determined essential to a child’s learning.


Inclusive classrooms create opportunities where all students can at one point or another, be given the role of a leader or supporter. Conversely, all students can and should be supported based upon specific needs to a particular situation.  This reciprocal process of collaboration fosters an awareness and understanding of the diversity that exists within the classroom as well as in the broader community. In a community of learners, students are encouraged to work together and discover ways to support one another.  


Adapted from:

University of Auckland. Teaching and Learning Hub. (2010). How do I create an inclusive learning environment? Retrieved from



U.S. Department of Education (n.d). Every child strengthens the literate community. Retrieved from



Reading 2: Inclusive School Culture


An inclusive culture starts from the premise that everyone in the school – students, educators, administrators, support staff and parents – should feel that they belong, realize their potential, and contribute to the life of the school. In an inclusive culture, diverse experiences, perspectives and gifts are seen to enrich the school community.


Achieving an inclusive school culture goes beyond making a decision to run a workshop on bullying, put in a ramp, or offer diversity training to staff. It is more than just developing a value statement that talks about inclusion. An inclusive school culture requires a shift in the attitudes of all the stakeholders as well as the development of policies and practices that reinforce inclusive behaviour. Real inclusion is about actions, not just words.


An inclusive culture is based on the philosophy that the whole school shares in the responsibility for inclusion. A real culture of inclusion cannot be brought about unless everyone embraces it.


Creating an inclusive school culture is critical because our schools act as mirrors of the larger community. There is a great opportunity to teach students, early in their development as citizens, about the importance and value of inclusion. They will learn behaviour that will ultimately help nurture truly inclusive communities. It also provides an opportunity for parents to learn through their children about the importance of belonging, acceptance and community.


In an inclusive school culture diversity is embraced, learning supports are available and properly utilized, and flexible learning experiences focus on the individual student. There is an innovative and creative environment and a collaborative approach is taken. At the heart of inclusion is committed leadership and a shared direction.


Adapted from:

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Education. (2014). Inclusive School Culture. Retrieved from




➢ Ask the trainees “Why it is important to create a safe and inclusive classroom?” 

➢ Now tell the trainees to form groups of 3 or 4 and mention the following ground rules to form and work in a group.

Ground rules for Group work: 

• Form a group with mixed gender.

• Try to form a group with new people you haven’t worked with before.

• Everybody will have active participation during group discussion.

• Everyone needs to have an unique and active role during group work,(e.g. one person will write the chart, another will paste it on the wall/board and another person will present it to the class etc.)

• During different group work, everyone should take turns to present.


➢ Engage the trainee teachers in following activities and facilitate the whole process.


➢ Activity 1: (30 minutes)

• Tell the trainee teachers to interpret the following picture and to make a list about “What are the barriers of creating an inclusive school community?” The discussion will reflect their experiences.




• Discuss within your group “What leadership role you can play to create an inclusive school community involving your students and why it is important?”  Get idea from text-3.

• Discuss how you can take lead to communicate with the community leaders, 

health care centers or with different organizations to get support for special need 


• Present your ideas to the class.


Reading 3: Teachers as Community Leaders


You will need to develop leadership in order to accomplish anything of significance. Because it is leaders who make things happen. It is leaders who have a vision, take initiative, influence people, make proposals, organize logistics, solve problems, follow-up, and - most of all - take responsibility.

The complex problems we have in our communities will require many people who are willing and able to lend an active hand and work together to solve them. The old model of one leader on top, with many followers at the bottom, isn't workable anymore. That is why leadership development should be a central activity for any leader. You can develop a team of leaders around you. Leadership doesn't have to be a lonely business. You can train people to competently share your responsibilities, vision, and commitment.

What role you can play to build your students’ leadership skills?


• Provide a relevant, significant, "real world" educational experience for students who participate

• Teach positive values, leadership, citizenship, and personal responsibility

• Invite and encourage students to become active members of their own communities

• Teach job skills and prepare students for life after school

• Contribute your outreach efforts to local community and beyond

• Increase school-community collaboration and partnerships

• Help with community education

• Contribute many hours of service to people in need

• Give students a greater understanding of the issues in their communities, and equip them to make intelligent decisions about those issues in their later careers and civic lives.


Adapted from:

University of Kansas. (2014). Community Tool Box. Retrieved from




➢ Activity 2: (60 minutes)

• Divide text-4 & 5 among your group members. Each person will silently read the part that is assigned to them and will share the ideas of that part to the group members. 

• Discuss within your group about “How can you create positive learning environment in the class and why it is important?” Use text-4 & 5 as a reference for your group discussion.

• Each group will present their views/points to the class.


Reading 4: Positive Classroom Climates


Positive Climate Skills:


• Recognize individual differences

• Learn names

• Arrange seating

• Establish expectations

• Make yourself available

• Encourage the students


What an instructor does in the first few class sessions sets the tone for the rest of the semester. We know from research on teaching that students learn best in student-centered classrooms where they are actively involved not only with the subject matter but also with their classmates and their teachers. Teacher-centered courses, which emphasize formal lectures and note taking, questions held until the end of class, and little student participation in learning activities, do not seem to promote as much learning as classrooms in which students have a voice. Although students may be reluctant at first to take part in learning activities, most of them report that they remember material best when they engage with it during class, not just during private study time. What can teachers do to create an environment in which students are willing to be active participants?



One essential characteristic of effective teaching is that it has to be responsive to the individual needs of students. There are simply too many differences among students for a teacher to be able to teach all of them the same thing at the same time. However, quality teaching entails being sensitive to individual differences in preferred learning styles by varying the rate, amount, nature or content of the instruction given. Teachers who alter instructions to accommodate individual differences send the message that they want to reach all of their students all of the time. Students are much more likely to participate actively in learning activities when they know that their teacher has carefully considered their needs.


During one of the first few class meetings, tell your students that you will incorporate a variety of teaching approaches toward the subject matter; then, keep your commitment throughout the course. Ask your students to suggest new methods of learning material and to give feedback on the methods you implement. Students will respect you when they know that they have a voice in how they learn, not just what they learn.



Calling students by name signifies a positive relationship between teachers and students. Students who recognize that their teachers think of them as individuals with individual needs will feel more comfortable in class and be more responsive in discussions.

Ask your students to introduce themselves the first day and have them state their names whenever they speak during the first few class sessions. Write a few notes about students to remind you of their names and interests. Encourage your students to learn classmates' names as well and to use them in class discussions.  



 Asking students to come to the front of the room so that they are close to each other encourages more participation than an arrangement with students scattered around the classroom. For a small discussion section, it may be useful to arrange chairs in a circle or a U shape.

Feel free to change the seating arrangement in your classroom according to the method of instruction you are using. Your students will be less likely to become bored if you show them that your classroom is not a static but a changing environment. Having them switch seats can make them interact with more of their classmates. However, do not experiment with the seating arrangement so often that your students feel uncomfortable.  


TELL STUDENTS WHAT YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS: Most students feel anxious when they are not certain what behaviors teachers expect from them. When teachers clearly and consistently communicate their expectations for student behavior, they help to ease student anxiety.


Tell your students that you expect them to come to class prepared, to ask questions and to discuss the material on a daily basis. Work out a system for holding your students responsible for class participation, include a section in your syllabus about how you will evaluate their participation, and consistently follow the rules you established. Encourage your students to help develop ground rules for discussion and include these guidelines in your syllabus. Ground rules may include:


• No personal attacks

One person talks at a time

• Everyone has a right to his or her opinion.



 This time can allow the teacher to build individual relationships with students. These small contacts can create more personal climate. Students may feel more comfortable asking questions, expressing their concerns, or seeing you about difficulties on an individual basis.

Tell your students in advance if you have to rush off to another class directly after the one(s) you teach so that they will not feel snubbed if you do not have time to answer their questions after class. Be sure to tell them when and where they can reach you to ask you additional questions.



Teachers can foster a safe climate by insuring that: 

They never ridicule a student's questions or remarks. It takes only one or two instances of "That's a stupid comment. Haven't you prepared for class?" to discourage participation.


You can disagree with a student without attacking him or her personally (e.g., "As I see it ...."). Remember always to dignify learners' responses by restating their valid points or crediting the thoughtfulness of their contributions.

They confront students who attack other students. (e.g., "John, state what you think rather than attacking another student.").

When you confront students who treat their classmates disrespectfully, you model for your students’ proper classroom etiquette. Your students will take you more seriously if they know you enforce the rules you include in your syllabus.

 One way to encourage participation is to reinforce appropriate student behavior both verbally and non-verbally.

Make frequent eye contact with your students. Move around the room often and offer words of praise such as "good" or "interesting" to students who are participating. Refer to student contributions in your remarks with phrases such as "As Sally said..." or "Would anyone like to respond to Joe's point?" Write student responses on the board, a flipchart, or a transparency, and include them in your handouts as often as possible to acknowledge contributions. Use student points in your remarks (e.g., "As Mike pointed out...").



Because your class roster is not stable the first day of class, it is tempting to do little more than administrative housekeeping. Remember, however, if you do not take the subject matter seriously, neither will your students. If you want a classroom where students come to work diligently, you need to begin teaching the content the first day of class. Let the first day set the tone for the rest of the semester. Let the first class set the tone for the weeks to follow by enlisting student interest, inviting their participation, and beginning to build a sense of community.


Adapted from:

University of Delaware. (n.d.). Positive Classroom Climate. Retrieved from







By Rod Lucero 


A learning environment will happen, whether intentional or not…so why not go about building a positive environment, intentionally.

—Rodrick Lucero



• It increases student engagement

• It creates a safe discursive environment

• It encourages student collaboration and participation

Remember: People support what they help to create. The old adage holds true: Students won’t care about what you know until they know that you care. 



• Be consistent with the expectations stated in your syllabus and, as things arise that require making changes, be sure to provide your rationale.

• Do your best to learn, AND USE students names from the first day…this is the key to establishing relationships and puts you well on your way to a great culture!

• Begin every class with a brief "grounding"…this is critical to transitioning students into the topic at hand. 

o This could be announcements

o A reflective, general question introducing the topic of the day

o A relevant current event

• At the beginning of every class, get everyone’s "voice in the room".  Once done, your students are complicit in establishing their classroom culture! You can do this by involving the whole class, small groups, or pairs of students. For example:

o "Share what you recall from our last class meeting"

o "Share with a partner what you found most difficult to understand in today’s reading"

o "In groups of three, share how you might use the last lecture in your field"

• Provide choices whenever possible.

• Trust students to do the right thing!

• Think about your objectives: Are there better venues for teaching those goals? 

o For instance, a walk about—send your class out, in pairs, to walk and talk about a specific topic.

o An empty field, student center, playground will do as a destination.

• Encourage your students to interact with you and with each other.

• Ask for student input frequently. Here are a few ideas: 

o Ask students to close their eyes and raise the number of fingers that represent the number of things they got out of today's lesson. You’ll get immediate feedback on your effectiveness, and they’ll know that you care about what they think!

o Ask your students to quickly pull out a half sheet of paper and share with you…"What went well today...Is there anything you think I should change?"

• Provide closure with every lesson. For example:

o "Next time we will…"

o "Please read…."

o "Share one new thing you learned today…"

• Doing this is a way to build anticipation and a reason for your students to be excited about coming to your next class!


Adapted from:

Rod Lucero.(n.d.). Building a Positive Classroom Culture and Climate. Colorado State University. Retrieved from



Session 2: 

How to implement and modify varied strategies to ensure positive interdependence and respect among students


Introduction: 30 minutes

➢ Give a brief idea to your class about bullying using  text- 6 & 7:


Reading 6: Facts About Bullying


What Is Bullying?


Bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour that is intentional, hurtful, (physical and psychological), and/or threatening and persistent (repeated). There is an imbalance of strength (power and dominance).


The above definition includes the following criteria that will help you determine if a student is being bullied:


• The mistreatment must be intentional.

• The mistreatment must be hurtful (physical or psychological).

• The mistreatment is threatening. The individual fears harms.  Fear their safety.

• The mistreatment must occur more than once. However, some disagree with this. They say one very hurtful event is enough to label it bullying.

• There must be a power imbalance.


What Does Bullying Look Like?


Direct Bullying Behaviours

Physical Bullying (a few examples)

• Hitting, slapping, elbowing, shouldering (slamming someone with your shoulder)

• Shoving in a hurtful or embarrassing way

• Kicking

• Taking, stealing, damaging or defacing belongings or other property

• Restraining

• Pinching

• Flushing someone’s head in the toilet

• Cramming someone into his or her locker

• Attacking with spit wads or food

Verbal Bullying (a few examples)

• Name-calling

• Insulting remarks and put-downs

• Repeated teasing

• Racist remarks or other harassment

• Threats and intimidation

• Whispering behind someone’s back

Indirect Bullying Behaviours

Social/Relational (a few examples)

• Destroying and manipulating relationships (turning your best friend against you)

• Destroying status within a peer group

• Destroying reputations

• Humiliation and embarrassment

• Intimidation

• Gossiping, spreading nasty and malicious rumours and lies about someone

• Hurtful graffiti

• Excluding someone from a group (social rejection or isolation)

• Negative body language (facial expressions, turning your back to someone)

• Threatening gestures, taunting, pestering, insulting remarks and gestures

• Glares and dirty looks, nasty jokes, notes passed around, anonymous notes

• Hate petitions (promising to hate someone)

Other Bullying Behaviours

• Cyber bullying: negative text messages on cell phones, e-mail, or voice-mail messages, Web pages, and so on direct and indirect forms of bullying often occur together. All of these behaviors can be interrelated.

Adapted from:


Bullying Prevention Program. (2014).Facts About Bullying. Retrieved from https://bullyfree.com/free-resources/facts-about-bullying


Reading 7: Kids Who are Bullied/Effects of bullying:


Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

• Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.

• Health complaints

Decreased academic achievement and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.  


Activity-3: (60 minutes)

➢ Tell the trainees to read the following stories about bullying to discuss in group “What role you can play to motivate and engage your students to make a safe and bully free school community?” 


• Encourage students to form a club to grow awareness against bullying. 

• Students can involve teachers and parents in that club.

• Students can stand beside the student who is being bullied etc. 

➢ Now using chart paper to make a diagram of your points to make it visual.

➢ Each group will present their chart to the class.


Rain’s Story

This is my bullying story. I'm slightly autistic and overweight, but I've been trying to combat these issues for the past few years. Since 4th grade, I've been ridiculed for my Autism and sometimes strange behaviour, which has been improving, and how I enjoy eating. Kids talk behind my back, and make fun of me on almost a daily basis. Almost every night, I cry myself to sleep because of this, and it's just incredibly painful. I want to talk to people, but it's hard to muster up the courage. 


Lisa’s Story


I was verbally bullied in school as a child.  From the age of nine, I heard these names-Fatty, Chubby, Greedy, Pink Elephant…. etc. without respite. Break times were worst- I often hid in the toilets to avoid the taunts. I’ll never forget the shame, humiliation and isolation-all I desperately wanted was to fit in. Apart from being angry at those who did this (what was so wrong with me?) I am angry at myself, for not having had the tools to stand up for myself, for not confiding in people who could have helped, for not being someone else.  I am angry at my teachers, for not noticing or not bothering to do anything. I am angry at my parents, for not picking up on the signals of my sadness.


Session 3: 

How to respond to individual student needs and establish a healthy rapport with students


Introduction: 20 minutes

➢ Before engaging the trainees in the next activity, ask them “Why doesn’t every student learn in the same way?” Using  text-8  provide a brief idea about different types of learning styles and why a teacher needs to consider different learning styles of their students when developing a lesson plan.


Reading 8: Types of Learning Styles: The Three Main Types


There are three main types of learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic. Most people learn best through a combination of the three types of learning styles, but everyone is different. 


  Auditory Learners: Hear

Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained than read about them. Reciting information out loud and having music in the background may be a common study method. Other noises may become a distraction resulting in a need for a relatively quiet place. 

  Visual Learners: See

Visual learners learn best by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading. For them, it's easy to look at charts and graphs, but they may have difficulty focusing while listening to an explanation.

  Kinaesthetic Learners: Touch

Kinaesthetic learners process information best through a "hands-on" experience. Actually doing an activity can be the easiest way for them to learn. Sitting still while studying may be difficult, but writing things down makes it easier to understand. 

Why consider the different learning styles of students

Learners process and comprehend information in a variety of ways, and varying your teaching strategies and classroom activities to respond to different learning styles will allow for more student engagement.

Adapted from:

Learning Rx(n.d.). Electronic references. Retrieved from



Activity-4: (60 minutes)

Now reshuffle the group members and form groups with whom you didn’t work before.

➢ Develop a 5 minutes lesson plan accommodating Auditory, Visual and Kinaesthetic learning style so that you can help all types of learners in your class.

➢ Each group will demonstrate their lesson plan by role playing. Like the previous day the presenter will role play as a teacher and other trainees will role play as students. 


Activity-5: (40 minutes)

➢ Use the following tips and develop your own strategies to build rapport with your students.

➢ Share your views with your group members and each group will present their ideas to the class.


Tips for Rapport-Building


How might we build rapport with our students? Try any or all of the following suggestions for developing rapport with your students:

  Learn to call your students by name.

  Learn something about your students' interests, hobbies, and aspirations.

  Create and use personally relevant class examples.

  Arrive to class early and stay late -- and chat with your students.

  Explain your course policies -- and why they are what they are.

  Post and keep office hours.

  Interact more, lecture less -- emphasize active learning.

  Reward student comments and questions with verbal praise;

  Be enthusiastic about teaching and passionate about your subject matter.

  Lighten up -- crack a joke now and then.

  Be humble and, when appropriate, self-deprecating.

  Make eye contact with each student -- without staring, glaring, or flaring.

  Be respectful.

  Don't forget to smile!


Session 4: Formative Evaluation on Module 2


Self-reflection: (30 minutes)

➢ Write 10 points about “As a teacher and a community leader , what can you do to help all the students (e.g. advanced learner, students with learning difficulties, physically impaired/visually impaired/hearing impaired, disadvantaged/students from low income families etc.) to learn and participate equally in your class?”   

➢ “What strategies can you take to create positive interdependence and respect among students in your class?”

➢ Share your views with your group members and each group will present their ideas to the class.



Bullying Prevention Program. (2014).Facts About Bullying. Retrieved from


Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Education. (2014). Inclusive School Culture. Retrieved from


Learning Rx(n.d.). Electronic references. Retrieved from



Rod Lucero.(n.d.). Building a Positive Classroom Culture and Climate. Colorado State University. Retrieved from

http://www.biz.colostate.edu/mti/tips/pages/Building A Positive Classroom.aspx

University of Auckland. Teaching and Learning Hub. (2010). How do I create an inclusive learning environment? Retrieved from


U.S. Department of Education (n.d). Every child strengthens the literate community. Retrieved from



University of Delaware. (n.d.). Positive Classroom Climate. Retrieved from



University of Kansas. (2014). Community Tool Box. Retrieved from