Student-Centered Learning Climate: Works Cited

School Learning Climate in Practice

Once a school has a supportive foundation of institutional environment, safety, and engagement, schools are then in a position to intentionally engage in behaviors aimed at building upon this foundation. These teaching and learning practices can significantly impact the school learning climate:   

  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) – PBIS is an evidence-based intervention model is an alternative to punitive measurements with the intent to proactively develop positive relationships between students and staff in order to provide academic and behavioral support in a differentiated, tiered framework, to meet the specific needs of individual students (Elrod et al., 2022; Horner et al., 2010). PBIS serves as a schoolwide framework aimed at improving student outcomes through the development of positive learning environments. 
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) – SEL is an interactive learning model that aims to improve student self-awareness, self-control, motivation, academic performance, and interpersonal skills (Ainley & Ainley, 2011; Martin et al., 2016; Manzano-Sánchez et al., 2021) by teaching students emotional self-regulation, empathy, and responsibility (Villenas & Zelinski, 2018). This teaching, in particular, gets at the heart of meeting those critical needs as outlined by Maslow (Manzano-Sánchez et al., 2021; Merino-Barrero et al., 2019), reinforcing a supportive School Learning Climate.
  • Problem-Based Learning (PBL) – PBL is a learner-centered approach that  encourages formal interactions among students which are stimulated by a central problem and through collaboration, encouragement, and discussion, students are empowered to conduct research in order to solve problems (Brouwer, et. al, 2019; Loyens et al., 2006; Schmidt & Moust, 2000).
  • Service Learning – Service, or service-learning, is a practice defined as encouraging active engagement, civic responsibility, and reflection  within a reciprocal relationship between students, faculty, and the community  to address community and school needs, through meaningful opportunities for learning and collaboration.


A focus on School Learning Climate allows us to provide for our students through a focus on their non-academic needs, setting the foundation for academic growth. Though there are many models and practices that aim at improving the learning climate of a school, it is those models that are used appropriately, with fidelity, and with the students at the heart of the work that have had the most success.  Through a focus on the practices mentioned here, we are able to cultivate and promote a strong School Learning Climate to promote student learning that builds upon the ideas of safety and engagement we see when schools are able to meet the key elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy. This not only ensures that students can feel supported as whole people, but also helps to encourage a school climate focused on support and empowerment for both students and teachers.

Works Cited

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Brouwer, J., Jansen, E., Severiens, S., & Meeuwisse, M. (2019). Interaction and belongingness in two student-centered learning environments. International Journal of Educational Research, 97, 119-130.

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Bryk, A.S., Sebring, P.B., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., & Easton, J.Q. (2010). Organizing schools for improvement: lessons from Chicago. Chicago. University of Chicago Press.

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