“Academic success for students begins with a trusting and mutually respectful relationship between student and teacher, extends to classroom order, and culminates in a safe and supportive school climate.”
Cornell & Mayer
As facilitator, it is largely up to you to create an environment in which your learners feel safe to explore further learning. Through various avenues you’ll be the one who includes students both personally and emotionally while presenting content reliant upon individual and personal student experiences. Inside each student you’ll have the power to cultivate a sense of occupying necessary positions within your learning community as the environment nurtures and supports diverse needs present within participants.
Search the web and you’ll find hundreds of suggestions for cultivating a positive learning environment. I’d love to hear your favorite finds. In the meantime, below are several suggestions to start you thinking:
Establish a Positive Attitude
Take a moment to simply consider how the brain is wired. In the following TED talk Shawn Achor shares how happiness can lead to success. Achor posits that, “If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed.”
Say good-bye to yesterday’s traditional sage-on-the-stage creation as you transition into a tech-assisted personalized learning haven. Howton presents five tools to turn your classroom into a personalized learning environment. These specify utilizing technology which you already have and choosing wisely your content delivery method. Expect student choice in determining how to complete a task while choosing a learning pathway to embark upon. Assess often, and be sure to learn from others.
Provide Frequent Opportunities for Practice
Practice. Practice. Practice. Get students up in front. Have them speak with a partner. Participate in a drama. Engage in whole class discussions and debates. Complete pair work or join small group talks. Remember learning should be fun, although this definition will vary among learners. For specific ideas to increase adult gab, check out Wickham’s 13 ideas for adults to practice ESL speaking activities.