Since flipping my Algebra 1 classes last year (and restructuring my Pre-Algebra classes 2 years ago) I have become convinced of the difference a positive classroom culture makes.
I don't believe I had a negative classroom before, but my classroom culture has improved tremendously in 3 years.
Over the last 3 years, students have become convinced that I am on their side. They believe I have their backs. They know I care about them and want to see them succeed.
They see the time I put into making videos and preparing for class. They appreciate the opportunity to retake and redo assignments and tests.
Making my classroom more student-centered has allowed me to get to know my students better. To spend time with them and ask them about how their day is going or how other classes are going. To help them one-on-one.
And as a result, they work for me. They work hard. (OK, OK...most of them, most of the time)
I have thought many times over the last couple of years that building deeper, more positive relationships with my students has been the biggest single motivator I have ever found or used.
When students know you care and you won't allow them to fail, they'll walk through walls for you.
And that makes for a pretty positive classroom culture.