By Lucy Wyndham
Creating a positive learning environment in the classroom is absolutely key to ensuring student progress as well as being able to get the best out of every individual student in the class. Creating the right kind of environment conducive to learning is a skill that takes practice over time. This article will provide some tips to help you ensure that students enjoy their experience in your classroom and are able to learn more effectively.
Greeting students at the door
Welcoming your students into the classroom at the door with energy and a smile shows that you mean business and have high expectations of them, it helps to set the right tone for the lesson and get off to a positive start. It can also help to wipe the slate clean with students that may have been disruptive in the previous lesson, showing that today is a new day and they have the opportunity to either redeem themselves or just put their best foot forward. It also shows students that you care about them as individuals and that you look forward to teaching them.
Students need a calm and controlled environment in order to be able to engage in classroom activities and focus properly on their learning and the work they produce. Therefore, minimising chatter and nipping low level disruption in the bud is essential to creating a positive working environment.
Even the temperature of the room is important to consider and get right, as this can actually have quite a big impact on student behaviour and ability to concentrate. If it is to hot or too cold students will find it much harder to stay engaged, and if they become distracted this can be fertile ground for bad behaviour. Even just a couple of unsettled or unruly students can have a significant impact on the learning of other students.
Catering for special needs students
Minimising chatter and keeping on top of low-level disruption is particularly important when it comes to creating the right environment for students with additional needs. Students in this category, depending on their needs, can be prone to becoming easily distracted, disengaged or anxious. The effective management of behaviour of all students in the class is therefore particularly important to ensure that the environment is conducive to learning in the most inclusive way possible.
Set goals and spontaneously celebrate success
Setting class goals and providing incentives is a great way to motivate and engage your students and reward them for focus and hard work. Recognising achievement when appropriate helps to positively engage the student in question as well as motivate the other students to work harder. It also sets the benchmark to the rest of the class in terms of your expectations of progress, effort levels and achievement. However, as expected progress can vary according to the differing needs of students, it’s important to make sure that you praise effort and achievement in a differentiated way so that lower ability students feel encouraged and confident that they are working towards achievable and realistic goals.