The environment we create for the children in our care is as important as the curriculum and I believe that decorating or displaying instructions in the classroom environment not only spurs creativity, but also inspires learning.
Every day of my life I see the classroom as the entrance to the world and not an escape.
I know so many of us are about to display one thing or the other in our classes this week. Before you do, NOTE that Creating a learning environment means careful planning for it. From to my research in 2017 I observed that children are affected by their environment and this environment has the tendency to give birth to aggressive play in a child.
Transforming this learning environment can eliminate such challenging behaviors in a child. let me use my story to explain this. As child I graduated from a very ‘lovely classroom like this where everybody jumped from one table to another. My first experience in a private school was just like a miracle as all those aggressive play was not coming. I was looking at the environment as if I was in heaven, the way I walked in it was different and I observed that the level at which I learnt was also different. This also happened to a lecturer of mine who travelled for his PHD in USA.
From this my research and experience, I observed that learning environment is a critical factor and can be intentionally prepared to help support a 21st learners because learners spend large amount of hours sitting in this learning environment. This place is where they will learn the various skills, knowledge and values necessary and proper for them to achieve success in the global world.
The classroom is where they will gain an understanding of their place in the world and their own input to it. It is where the student develops what they want their future to look like, as well as knowledge of the skills needed to reach their goal.
SO WHAT DID YOU PUT IN PLACE LAST YEAR THAT MADE LEARNING SUPPORTIVE AND EFFECTIVE IN YOUR CLASSROOM?
My advice for you this 2018 is very simple
Try to envision the physical layout and a cognitive layout of your learning environment before you do anything this year because the physical space of the classroom is meant to be managed by you to prepare the children to come in. and how will you feel if a child comes in and says, I DONT LIKE THIS CLASS! Then you should be ready for questioning from your boss if he or she gets to know. I dont pray this happens to any CME member.
Another question to ask yourself Is the physical layout warm and inviting?
Does the room arrangement match your philosophy for this term?
Do the students have access to necessary materials?
Spend few minutes in your childrens’ chairs. And ask yourself, Am I comfortable?’
Are the distracting features of a room eliminated?
Dont put things on the walls unless you intend to actively refer to them.
Are your displays and materials being at child level?
Are your displays which actively encourage interaction?
Attending to these and similar questions can aid you in managing the physical layout of the classroom for 2018.
YOU CAN ALSO ADD SOME OF THESE STEPS WHEN SETTING UP A CLASS
1. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR CLASSROOM AND EVALUATE THE ENTIRE SPACE AND YOUR STYLE.
Any time I meet any teacher this is my first advice for them. what we don’t know is that the physical layout of your classroom should reflect your teaching style.
I remember decorating a school in Lagos I asked the teacher what the aim for that term was and she told said, I want my students to collaborate in groups’
If thats the case, we should arrange your desks in small clusters to form tables.
You can also give the arrangements of your class as a task to the students and this can develop another skill in them.
2. KEEP INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AND OR DISPLAYS TO REACH THE LEVEL OF A CHILD
Easily accessible materials or display can eliminate classroom disruptions and wasted time.
3. EXPRESS YOURSELF THROUGH DESIGNED BULLETIN BOARDS.
You cant see MR EBEN work in any school and not know this is his work.
Its hard to find an elementary school classroom without bulletin boards and I believe a school without at least one bulletin board is not a school. Every classroom in a good school anywhere in the world has bulletin boards on the walls.
And please dont be intimidated and think all of your bulletin boards need to be completed by the first day of school. Allowing some blank spaces for your students to complete will make them take ownership of their learning environment.
4. ADD AN ARTIST TOUCH TO YOUR CLASSROOM
By doing this you can create a home away from home. It requires that we infuse a bit of artist personalities into our classroom design.
5. ADD THE MULTI-SENSORY ELEMENTS TO YOUR DISPLAY
Remember that children learn using all five of their senses, so wherever possible include the use of multi-sensory elements such as sounds, smells and feely bags/trays. The inclusion of photographs and annotated comments encourage children to revisit and discuss the learning process which led to the display in the first place. Its important to ensure that displays are revisited with adult input too, as theyre a valuable resource for you to develop discussion and reflection.
All what we have talked about this afternoon add up to create either a POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENT for students.
I’ll leave you with one more thoughts this afternoon. If you’re a teacher in 2018, and you spend a good part of your life in places that should feel more like a warm home than a cold, impersonal office building or warehouse.
So consider increasing your own sense of well-being and motivation as much as increasing these qualities for your students by creating a 21st century learning environment for them.
IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR CREATING A WELCOMING CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT? YOU CAN DROP YOUR COMMENTS…