Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well being.
Creating a Positive Learning Environment
Creating a positive learning environment is the key to having a successful year with students. By creating a positive learning environment teachers are not only making a space for effective classroom management, but also fostering a positive learning experience for children. Both Jim Fay and David Funk, authors of Teaching with Love and Logic (1995) and Harry Wong, author of First Days of School (2009), offer practical advice on how teachers can effectively create a positive learning environment.
Over the past several years my understanding of how to create a good learning environment for my students has developed and improved. An area that I have worked hard at developing is how I set up my class so that my students are safe; that means I take into account the physical, emotional and intellectual well being of each student. The best way I know how to do this is through classroom management. According to Harry Wong, “The most important factor governing student learning is classroom management” (First Days of School, 2009, page 80). Classroom management starts even before students come to class. This means that I need to have lesson plans ready, rules and expectations formatted, a syllabus on each student’s desk and classroom arranged in such a way that promotes collaborative learning (page 89). In addition to this I need to implement my classroom management strategies at the beginning of the year providing students with clear, positive expectations and classroom procedures. This will be taught, rehearsed and reinforced often to the point that, as David Funk explains, “The class can run itself” (page 219). My goal is that within this environment students will feel like they are safe, feel valued and heard by their classmates and me.
Confident and Independent Learners
Furthermore, I want to make the learning environment safe in such a way that students can become confident independent learners. I have deeply influenced by the Love and Logic three basic rules:
- Use enforceable limits
- Provide choices within limits
- Apply consequences with empathy
At the beginning of the year I started using these rules in my classroom and it has alleviated the burden and responsibility of taking on student’s bad behavior and problems as my own. Now I have figured out constructive ways to teach students how to solve their own problems. One way that I do this is by offering choices to my students. In doing this I am helping them feel like they are part of the decision making process and ultimately responsible for the consequence of their actions. The exciting result of this is that my students are empowered in their own learning journey (Teaching Love and Logic, 1995, page 189).
As an educator my goal is to educate, encourage and empower each one of my students. It is exciting to see how my own philosophy and teaching methods continue to evolve. For a more detailed overview of what that looks like please visit my website: globalclassmanagement.wordpress.com.
As I continue in my teaching journey I will continue to refine what I have learned both through researched based books, colleagues and through my own teaching experience.
Fay, Jim and Funk, David. (1995). Teaching With Love and Logic. Golden, CO: The Love and Logic Press, Inc.
Wong, H.K. and Wong, R.T. (2009). The First Days of School: How to be an Effective
Teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.