In a study conducted by Dr. David Hough’s research team it was found that environment of the classroom is very important and happy students make better learners. If students feel safe, and feel that the learning atmosphere is a happy one, they will return. When they return, they also have a good attitude and this helps them learn.
The classroom is a little world unto itself and it sets the tone for the school as a whole. The research team discovered that it didn’t matter if the classroom was outdated or new, high or low tech, large or small. What matters to the student is the teacher. The teacher’s attitude toward students (in research lingo) accounted for most of the variance in students’ perceptions of safety, enjoyment and happiness.
Happiness might be the most overlooked variable of all. To be happy at school, we found students had to feel as if they were a valued member of the class. We found students had to be successful at something they believed was of value.
Elementary schoolchildren are sometimes made to feel happy when they please their teacher, but helping them understand that happiness is not “approval” is a difficult construct to comprehend. Recognizing young children for “random acts of kindness” or “subtle successes” is different from giving them rewards for doing what is expected.