Pupils and student spend a large amount of time sitting in a school classroom. This place is where they will learn the various skills deemed necessary and proper for them to achieve success in the global society. With the classroom being such an important place in the growth of a child it is important to understand the ways in which to affect this environment in order to receive maximum effectiveness in instruction. If not approached correctly, a classroom set-up can stifle creativity or cripple a positive learning environment.
Many things can affect this environment (both the physical and intangible elements) can impact a student’s focus and achievement in the class as well as affect the teacher’s attitude in the class.
Physical elements such as wall art, arrangement of desks, or resources;
Intangible elements such as the energy of the classroom, the rules, or the sounds within the room.
Emotional Environment: the way in which a teacher organizes their class, or how they control it, will yield positive or negative consequences for their pupils or students. If a teacher is unmotivated or negative, there will be a direct impact on the students within the classroom. Similarly, if a teacher is motivated and positive, they will likely have a beneficial impact on their students as well.
One of the first areas that make a noticeable impact on student success is the physical environment of the classroom. This can pertain to structure, resources, color and other details.
All of these play a role in determining whether the classroom will be conducive for learning. Each may not have a large effect individually, however together they can work to strengthen a student’s ability to learn.
To help students understand what is expected of them the teacher can clearly state the order in which the discussion will run. By letting the students know what is expected of them they will have clear guidelines to be held accountable to.
Classroom organization can also play a very large role in student discipline. When a student walks into a classroom and sees that there is a large mess on the teacher’s desk and items scattered around the floor the student can get the idea that the teacher doesn’t pay a lot of attention to detail. If a teacher does not show that they care about organization then a student will most likely develop that attitude as well.
A teacher can use this knowledge to their advantage, however, by structuring their classroom in an organized fashion.
Developing rapport with students is essential in creating a good classroom environment. It can be difficult, though, to maintain authority if not handled well. There are a few strategies that a teacher can use to establish a good relationship with their students.
The first one is how the teacher dresses. It is understandable that a teacher must maintain a level of professionalism in their attire. Teachers should not dress in the exact same fashion as their students either.
A teacher should be dressed professionally enough to establish authority, but relaxed enough that a student isn’t intimidated to ask them questions. The teacher should convey that they are the rule maker, but that they also genuinely care about the student’s problems or questions.
To do this, teachers should dress modestly but relaxed. They should cross fun with professionalism.
The second dynamic of a classroom that can impact a student’s learning is the non-physical environment. This consists of things such as sound, temperature, seating arrangements and others. These are elements of the classroom that a teacher can’t physically touch, but they can alter them to increase focus and classroom productivity.
Every set of students will have unofficial leaders within the group. There are two main types of leaders. The first set of leaders are those who are the highest in academic performance. The second set are those who are the social leaders of the classroom. Each of these groups can be a major asset to a teacher if they are used correctly.
A teacher should not try to crush this leadership, but instead they should partner with the student so that the student helps lead the rest of the students down the same path that the teacher wants to go. If the teacher encourages these students in their leadership of the classroom, they will set an example that the students will use to encourage their peers to follow.
When thinking of all of these strategies it is important for a teacher to take into account that they will have students in their classrooms that have special needs. These students will need special accommodations in order to be successful as well.
Some students may have needs that need to be met individually. There are ways to easily accommodate them as well without changing things for the rest of the class. If a student has a visual impairment the teacher can either make power points in larger font or print the powerpoint off for the student to follow. If the student has a hearing impairment the teacher can wear a microphone or have the student sit closer to where the teacher will be speaking.
All of these can be done easily to benefit all of the students.
Sound: In regards to sound, teachers must be mindful of this element in the classroom. Sound can play a very important role in the attention and success of a student. Things such as a noisy hallway or a student tapping their pencil repeatedly on the desk can greatly distract a student.
There are ways to counter these distractions though. Something as simple as closing the classroom door can benefit students. Grouping students that prefer quiet next to each other can increase their attention. It can also be beneficial to have learning centers in the room where students can go to find a quiet place to work as well. Some students prefer to have a little noise to prevent distractions.
Light: Along with sound, light can play a major role in determining whether or not a student is engaged in the lesson as well. Natural lighting is the best option; however, in cases where a classroom lacks the ability to utilize natural lighting, the use of lamps with softer lighting can create a warmer environment for students to focus. There is potential danger here though because it could lead to students becoming sleepy and lazy, so teachers must look for this and make adjustments as needed.
Too cold or too warm of a classroom can make students sluggish or inattentive. Also, poor circulation of air can create dust or air pollution that can affect students’ allergies. A classroom with fresh, warm air can create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Students will look for anything to distract them from the lesson, regardless of how trivial it may seem. Removing problems created by things such as temperature, light, or sound removes potential distractions for students.
The teacher cannot forget about the emotional environment in class arrangement. This is the atmosphere created by the teacher that can either encourage or discourage students to be successful.
This covers things such as creating lesson plans the students will find more engaging, motivating students to use their skills, hanging work, or providing positive feedback. These are things that should be considered when utilizing any of the other tools mentioned.
Overall, the classroom environment plays a crucial role in keeping students engaged and allowing them to be successful within the classroom. The teacher can modify the environment to achieve these results. There is a multitude of ways in which to do this. They can arrange the desks in different patterns. They can decorate the walls with different assignments or items. Students can be used to help lead the classroom in the way that the teacher wants to go. These, and other actors, can increase the effectiveness of instruction in the classroom. A good teacher is aware of these elements and the importance that they play in student success. Without giving attention to the environment of a classroom the teacher is setting their students up to be less successful.
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