One topic that I found interesting that was talked about in class was creating a positive learning environment. I think that this is a very important thing to learn as a future teachers as it will help me teach the students without having that many disruptions. From the educational foundations blocks and my O&P experience, I have learned that positive environments and classroom management for that they are crucial if learning is to happen and they keep the day to day operations moving smoothly.
One thing that the textbook talks about when it comes to creating a positive environment is the need for organization, and that unpredictable and spontaneous events or actions will cause a breakdown to the learning (Woolfolk, 2014). I agree with this because I saw these things happen while at Beloit. One example of this is if a kid asked to leave the room and my cooperating teacher said no, as this would cause the student to ask more questions and prompt other students to start talking as well. These events would stop the learning from happening and it would take several minutes for the students to get focused again.
In the classroom, there are different ways to create an environment that is positive for learning. I think that its crucial to start at the beginning of the school year and set up the rules and procedures that the students are expected to follow. This will allow them to get into a routine when they come into class and will keep the class moving. Also, setting up a system of punishment for the students who break the rules will help as well. These will cut down on the unpredictable which disrupts learning in the classroom. Another way to accomplish this, is setting up the class in a way that promotes learning and not disruptions. My cooperating teacher put a lot of thought into the seating chart because it there were certain students that worked well together and not so well together, so she arranged the students in a way that allowed them to learn by listening and by working together.
Positive learning environments extend to beyond the classroom and go to the school as well. The time in between classes, lunch and recess all need to be organized and set up in a way the promotes good behavior and positivity. One article that I found that goes along with this talks about how a good learning environment correlates to good academic achievement (Ali, 2016). The author looked at different aspects such as a caring and motivating atmosphere, school pride, and closeness to parents in the community, and found that student achievement is higher is schools that exhibit these qualities more than schools that didn’t. I never really thought about how the culture and climate of a school could impact the academics of the students but after reading through this article, I agree that schools should promote a positive culture for the students.
One example of promoting a positive school culture is having a system in place to promote good behavior among the students. “The school–wide student management program contains four critical and overlapping components: (1) proactive measures, (2) a consistent response to misbehavior, (3) remedial practices, and (4) individual plans for students with severe behavioral problems.” (MacGregor, 1997). Something like this was used in Beloit as certain students had point sheets to use for monitoring their behavior. I think this is a useful tool to use in school as it helps struggling students see what they need to do to succeed which in turn will help out the rest of the school since their behavior might have been disrupting the classes.
One article that I found helps create a positive learning environment by using “clickers” during the class. The author found that using the clickers allowed the students to monitor their learning and compare themselves to others in real time. Also, the students could further the discussions of the topic and promote understanding (Vital, 2011). The use of clickers is primarily used in the university setting but are making their way to the high school level. I think these are like kahoots in the way that they offer real time answers to students to assess where they are at, and that they are a good way to promote engagement and positivity in the classroom.
In conclusion, creating a positive learning environment is important to do when I am a teacher in the future because not only will it help make things easier for me, but it will make the students feel comfortable and organized while at school. Creating this will be hard at first but with as time goes on, I will be able to create a good learning environment so that all my students have the opportunity to succeed.
Ali, Z., & Siddiqui, M. (2016). School Climate: Learning Environment as a Predictor of Students Academic Achievement. Journal of Research & Reflections in Education (JRRE). 10(1). 104-105.
MacGregor, R. R., Nelson, J. R., & Wesch, D. (1997). Creating positive learning environments: The school-wide. Professional School Counseling, 1(2), 33.
Woolfolk, A. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston. Pearson.
Vital, F. (2012). Creating a Positive Learning Environment with the Use of Clickers in a High School Chemistry Classroom. Journal of Chemical Education. 89(4). 470-473.