Creating a supportive environment

Part of the Great Teaching Toolkit






This course provides an evidence-based overview of how and why a supportive environment helps both teachers and students, and what great teachers do to create it. You will explore how these principles can be applied in the classroom, before practising selecting and adapting individual teaching strategies for different contexts to prepare for the next steps of your personalised professional development.

What will you learn?

Great teachers create a climate of high expectations in which they show respect and sensitivity towards the individual needs, emotions, culture and beliefs of their students. That respect should also be reciprocated: great teachers behave in ways that promote student respect for the integrity and authority of the teacher.

Classrooms where students respect and pay attention to each other’s thoughts, and feel safe to express their own thoughts, are more productive for learning. Where students cooperate with each other effectively, they are able to benefit from learning interactions with their peers. Students who are motivated to study, learn, engage and succeed are more likely to do so, and feelings of autonomy, competence and relatedness can help to promote learning.

In this course, you’ll learn about creating a supporting environment for three classroom goals:

  1. to promote a positive climate for learning;
  2. to promote students’ motivation to learn; and
  3. to create a climate of high expectations in which learners feel confident to ‘have a go’.

You’ll learn how relationships of trust and respect between students and teachers, and among students, are at the heart of a supportive classroom environment. In this way, students are motivated, supported and challenged, and have a positive attitude towards their learning.

Curriculum outline

Over the first six weeks of this course, you’ll explore the evidence on creating a supportive environment, learning how teachers use strategies such as scripting and communicating clear expectations of behaviour to create promote positive teacher-student and student-student relationships. You’ll learn how teachers can support students with individual needs within the wider class and how be respectful towards – and responsive to – the cultural identities of students in your teaching. You’ll explore how to promote student motivation to study, learn, engage and succeed and how to create a climate of high expectations, where students are encouraged to have a go through the use of effective feedback.

In the final two weeks, once you have thought hard about the theories and principles behind creating a supportive environment, you’ll move on to practise the act of selecting and adapting strategies for use in the classroom, based on your growing knowledge.

What else is included in the Toolkit?

Creating a supportive environment

Assessment Lead Programme

Creating a supportive environment

Science of Learning Programme

Creating a supportive environment

Toolkit Instruments

Creating a supportive environment

Behaviour and Culture Programme

Creating a supportive environment

Maximising opportunity to learn

Creating a supportive environment


Creating a supportive environment


Creating a supportive environment


Creating a supportive environment


Creating a supportive environment


Creating a supportive environment

An evidence-based approach to Great Teaching