Master of Arts
Crooks, Claire V.
Since children spend many hours of the day in the classroom, understanding the impact the classroom environment has on children’s well-being is important. However, existing research on learning environments has predominantly focused on overall school climate, and additional research investigating classroom climate is warranted. The main objective of this study was to determine whether a positive classroom climate serves as a protective factor for children at heightened risk for worry and peer problems, and those with low social-emotional functioning and high exposure to childhood adversity. A total of 429 grade 3 students within 41 classrooms in 19 schools self-reported their perceptions of classroom climate, levels of worry, and peer relations. In addition, teachers rated participating students’ social-emotional functioning, and parents reported their child’s cumulative adversity. Multilevel analyses revealed that students in classrooms with more positive classroom climate were more likely to exhibit lower levels of worry and report fewer problems with peer relationships. Further analyses showed that a positive classroom climate is especially beneficial for students with low social-emotional functioning. The findings indicate that a positive classroom climate can serve as a protective factor for students, and highlight the importance of optimizing classroom climate to promote healthy child development.
Summary for Lay Audience
Children spend many hours of the day in the classroom, so it is important to understand the influence the classroom environment has on their well-being. This study examined the protective role positive classroom climate plays on grade 3 students’ levels of worry and negative peer relationships. Whether a positive classroom climate is especially beneficial for students with weaker social-emotional skills and higher exposure to adverse events was also explored. The findings showed that students in classrooms with more positive classroom climate tended to have lower levels of worry and fewer peer problems. In addition, a positive classroom climate was especially beneficial for students with poorer social-emotional skills. An improved understanding of the influence classroom climate has on student well-being is a critical step in building supportive learning environments in which students can flourish.
Kim, Sue, "Multilevel Examination of the Protective Role Positive Classroom Climate Plays on Students' Worry and Negative Peer Relations" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8682.