What is a Learning Environment in Classrooms?
Almost all of us have spent a great deal of time in the classroom, beginning in kindergarten and extending for years beyond. Have you ever noticed what the teacher did to make learning more inviting? Was it colorful posters, clear and consistent rules, and fun and interesting teaching methods? If so, you were lucky to have a teacher who paid close attention to the learning environment, or the physical, psychological and instructional atmosphere. Ms. Martin is a teacher skilled in providing her students with a positive learning environment. Should we peek in and see what’s going on in her classroom? Here we go.
Why Are Learning Environments Important?
Ms. Martin has learned over the years that the learning environment in her classroom is vital to student success and impacts students in many ways. A negative learning environment, or setting that adversely affects student learning, can affect Ms. Martin’s students in many ways, such as low student achievement, poor behavior, student anxiety, or depression. Ms. Martin works hard to maintain a positive learning environment, or one that allows students to feel comfortable and confident as learners. Her students are hard workers and have high achievement levels. What does she do to make her classroom-learning environment one where students thrive? Glad you asked!
Elements of a Positive Learning Environment
Like we said, Ms. Martin is a smart cookie. She’s picked up some handy tools of the trade along the way that help her keep her classroom environment humming with positive energy.
Those bright posters, organized spaces and cooperative learning arrangements aren’t an accident. Ms. Martin pays a lot of attention to the physical environment in her classroom. The use of space includes how furniture is arranged and organized, how materials are stored and maintained, how clean the classroom is and the overall color and brightness. Imagine a classroom that has little light, dirt on the floors, messy bookshelves and broken supplies. Sound like a fun place to be? Ms. Martin recognizes that children need a clean, bright, organized space to strengthen learning experiences.
We’ve all had a teacher or two that has been a little more vocal than we liked. Teachers who yell at students, are random about consequences, and embody an overall negative attitude aren’t good for student learning. The psychological environment in the classroom is how students feel about their learning. Ms. Martin has specific rules and consequences posted in her classroom and clearly explains each to students. She has a calm, patient demeanor and is focused on helping students learn, both intellectually and socially. She maintains a positive control of her classroom by being a role model for kind words and actions. She knows that students react negatively when they feel things are unfair, unclear or are worried about getting in trouble. Because she is clear and consistent, offers praise and gratitude, and sets a good example, her students are confident and comfortable in the classroom.