There is an infinite number of possible learning environments, which is what makes teaching so interesting. This is not a feel-good implication, but really crucial for the whole learning process to work. Y ou want everyone to arrive engaged and stay engaged to the very end. This five part series on “Optimal Learning Environment”, begins with these five classroom doors. OPTIMUM LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. Old errors are reflected on. When the instruction is geared in the kiddos favor it makes the day that more enjoyable and understandable. I think with the older grades creating safe learning environments is critical to engaging our teenagers. In 2015, we introduced MOLTE, Modular Optimal Learning Testing Environment, which is a Matlab-based environment for testing a wide range of learning algorithms for problems with discrete alternatives, on a wide range of problems. Optimal Learning Environments to Promote Student Engagement analyzes the psychological, social, and academic phenomena comprising engagement, framing it as critical to learning and development. Learning is personalized by a variety of criteria. The classroom learning environment is the student’s first experience of school when they walk into the rooms at the beginning of the school year. Learning environments can be student- … I thought that the doors were impressive and had valued meaning to the classroom. I love this ! Are they disengaged from one particular topic? This definition recognises that students learn in many different ways in very different contexts. No question is too small t… Learning our letter sounds is more of a hip rap. And feedback is quick even when the ‘grading’ may not be. Let’s open these doors and discover how to create an optimal learning environment. Chances are, none are incredible enough to suit every bit of content, curriculum, and learner diversity in your classroom. The more infrequent, clinical, murky, or threatening it is, the more you’re going to separate the ‘good students’ from the ‘good thinkers.’ And the ‘clinical’ idea has less to do with the format of the test, and more to do with the tone and emotion of the classroom in general. Appreciation is the … The Classroom Structure in the lesson For starters, a classroom must have the resources needed for students to succeed! I want to do door #2 right now. After teaching for thirty years, I would define optimal learning as the aquiring of skills and or knowledge in an environment that supports the student's needs as completely as possible. There are constant opportunities for practice. What’s in it for them, and their future opportunities to improve? Consider sources like professional and cultural mentors, the community, content experts outside of education, and even the students themselves. It can be represented in a variety of ways. They can act as a kind of criteria to measure your own against–see if you notice a pattern. . Simply put, students learn better when they view the learning environment as positive and supportive (Dorman, Aldridge, & Fraser, 2006). The reality is, there is no single answer because teaching and learning are awkward to consider as single events or individual ‘things.’ This is all a bunch of rhetoric until we put on our white coats and study it under a microscope, at which point abstractions like curiosity, authenticity, self-knowledge, and affection will be hard to pin down. Understanding each of the factors contributing to the classroom environment is crucial to the success of any initiative. For in-person professional development from TeachThought on how to create an effective learning environment in your classroom or school, contact us today. Divergent concepts are contrasted. Positive, productive learning environments are key to students' academic, emotional and social success in school. Rather than rows of computers facing a wall, schools can use cheap piping to conceal wires and face computers in different configurations. Highly-effective and conducive to student-centered learning. Students need to be excited and stimulated for successful learning. An alternative? In total, they contain the formula for a healthy, productive environment. And when these sources disagree with one another, use that as an endlessly ‘teachable moment,’ because that’s what the real world is like. This means that every square foot of it needs to be used for activities that support learning. Curiosity, persistence, flexibility, priority, creativity, collaboration, revision, and even the classic Habits of Mind are all great places to start. An effective environment will also be responsive, containing features that involve all five senses and provoke thinking, open-ended outcomes, and creativity. In a societal sense, learning environment may refer to the culture of the population it serves and of their location. Some people may see the environment as insignificant, but for teachers, parents, and educators it is something that needs to be considered a high priority. I don’t think I’ve made a decision by myself for our classroom since October. In addition, children can experience the plants and animals in their local ecosystem (Greenman, 2007). Your email address will not be published. Progressive learning (like our 21st Century Model, for example) environments. How to use optimal in a sentence. Your first step should be to ask them what you could be doing to help them: 1. Learners respond far better to praise than punitive measures. An effective learning environment encourages learning through play with a rich set of materials and learning opportunities. The role of curiosity has been studied (and perhaps under-studied and under-appreciated), but suffice to say that if a learner enters any learning activity with little to no natural curiosity, prospects for meaningful interaction with texts, media, and specific tasks are bleak. I especially like the ending where it talks about the importance of a morning meeting. Great ideas. I look forward to reading the next blog posts in the series. Invest in education and training. And that means adding currency whenever possible—grades (questions as assessment! Push the comfort zone. A supportive learning environment can mean the difference between having a good day and a bad day. Open the doors to learning with a school and classroom environment that reflect inclusion and relevance. Your goal is to create an optimal learning experience. Optimal Learning Environments are based on the belief that every student can achieve high expectations. 10. 2. Varying the tone, volume, expression and inflection in your voice when introducing new concepts can spark student interest and curiosity. Each problem, and each algorithm, is coded in its own .m file, making it easy for users to add new problems, and new algorithms. The first of these is purely cognitive, but can be thought of as “internal processes of the mind. Why are students being tested? Inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, direct instruction, peer-to-peer learning, school-to-school, eLearning, Mobile learning, the flipped classroom, and on and on—the possibilities are endless. Former teacher and now educational leader, Eric Jensen says, “A teacher’s climate must be rich in affirmation, rich in relevancy, rich in engagement and rich in relationships”. Utilizing volume-control when instructing is also a powerful and effective t… Too slowly? Are your students feeling uneasy about the environment that you've already created? Students need to feel they are part of their classroom environment and play a role in what happens there each and every day. Learning habits are constantly modeled. Was it colorful posters, clear and consistent rules, and fun and interesting teaching methods? I love this! Crazy about the doors! On each of about 180 days, for around 13 years, our students spend around six hours in school, ten hours at home and in their communities, and about eight hours asleep. 5. For professional development around this idea or others you read about on TeachThought, contact us. Outside, children and youth can release energy, use loud voices, play vigorously, and engage in messy projects. An optimal classroom environment has a classroom climate full of energy, participation, movement, spirit, respect, learning, sharing, reflecting and big goals for everyone individually and collectively. Thank you for sharing these five ways to create an optimal learning environment. It should also not be entirely weighted on ‘participation,’ assessment results, attitude, or other individual factors, but rather meaningfully melted into a cohesive framework that makes sense—not to you, your colleagues, or the expert book on your shelf, but the students themselves. 7905 June Reid Place ♦ Salem, OR 97303. Ideas for lessons, reading, tests, and projects—the fiber of formal learning—should come from a variety of sources. Since learners must do the learning, the aim is to create a total environment for learning that optimises the ability of students to learn. Research has helped us identify many other benefits to playing outdoors (Children and Nature Network, 2012), such as: 1. Check out this great TED Talk… https://www.imagineschools.org/our-resources/. Athletes Become Students of the Sport. Learning environments are highly diverse in use, … These five classroom doors give insight to each teacher’s vision while concurrently focusing on the students. Design for different learning needs. Learning Environment Learning environment refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn. When encouraging and praising students, genuine expression within the delivery is important. This makes personalization—and even consistent differentiation—a challenge. A characteristic of a highly-effective classroom, then, is diversity here, which also has the side-effect of improving your long-term capacity as an educator. 3. This aspect links to the first point. Have you ever noticed what the teacher did to make learning more inviting? See if you don’t notice a change. Your email address will not be published. Then, as you adjust pace, entry points, and rigor accordingly, you’ll have a better chance of having uncovered what the learners truly ‘need.’, 7. Optimal Learning The good news is that students can get better and better provided that we design instruction to improve their skills-and we can do so right from the start, in kindergarten and first grade.” (Joyce B., Weil M., & Calhoun E. (2009) Models of teaching and learning, Pearson, 13) Num… Complex ideas are re-approached from new angles. I like the idea of making the classroom “our” classroom instead of “mine.” That might be a hard transition for me. “Change your mindset from my class to our class, to give your students a sense of ownership.” This is so powerful. I really like Door #5! Students can move quickly through the space and easily access resources needed for various learning purposes. The brain processes information all the time and naturally responds globally to the context of the environment in which it is immersed. Inspire November 23, 2016 INSPIRE 11 Comments. Do they like to work by themselves or are they more comfortable breaking down into teams? 5 Abbreviation: IP-CLE, interprofessional clinical learning environment. If so, you were lucky to have a teacher who paid close attention to the learning environment, or the There are many components that go into making a positive learning environment for students. Laptops and other mobile devices have great potential to enhance and transform instruction and are being used effectively in many college classrooms.5 Today's students use their devices in class to take notes, access materials and applications, and find relevant information. So it makes sense that if good questions should lead the learning, there would be value placed on these questions. . These theories flow from the psychological theories of learning, which include cognitive theories, social cognitive theories, and instructional system design theories (Bertrand, 2003). Thank you again. One way is creating different areas of the classroom for the students. If they all come from narrow slivers of resources, you’re at risk of being pulled way off in one direction (that may or may not be good). I ask the students to repeat the answer to my question twice so that everyone has the chance to answer with a correct answer. But the fact remains—if students can’t ask great questions—even as young as elementary school—something, somewhere is unplugged. There are four types of learning environments, each with unique elements. Music plays an important role in creating a stimulating learning environment and increasing learner engagement in a training session. I have adapted my learning to the times. There is of course no single optimum learning environment. Keep it Positive. It has to leave the classroom because they do. I speak to students all the time about how their classmates are like family and that they need to treat each other as such. Learning habits are constantly modeled Cognitive, meta-cognitive, and behavioral ‘good stuff’ is constantly modeled. When all students in a classroom can access networked tools simultaneously, many collaborative learning and just-in-time teaching opportunities emerge. • A learning environment that models optimal practice and lifelong learning a Adapted with permission from Hawkins et al. Classroom environment is one of the most important factors affecting student learning. A de-cluttered learning environment is free from distractions and allows the focus to be on learning. Image attribution flicker user flickeringbrad and josekevo; 10 Characteristics Of A Highly Effective Learning Environment, March 19, 2018 - Updated on April 17, 2020, professional development from TeachThought, how to kill learner curiosity in 12 easy steps. They will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when they see their work every day as they walk into class. I also love the idea of making it a community. There are many benefits to children and youth playing outside. Optimal definition is - most desirable or satisfactory : optimum. This is a tricky balance that middle and high school teachers work with every day. Learning environments vary from classroom to classroom and context to context. These investments can include effort, finance, coaching, tutoring … Assessment is just an (often ham-fisted) attempt to get at what a learner understands. I wanted to see what was behind the door and what activities could be found. So often what students learn from those around them is less directly didactic, and more indirect and observational. I especially think Morning Meetings are important and set the tone for the day ahead. I love the idea of shared decision making and changing the mindset from “my class” to “our class”. I also like the doors that are based on student input, choices, and decisions. Starting with that central idea of high expectations and capability of all students is key. Cognitive, meta-cognitive, and behavioral ‘good stuff’ is constantly modeled. So we put together one take on the characteristics of a highly effective classroom. This computes to about 30 percent of students’ waking time spent under the roof of our schools and behind the doors of our classrooms. I really like the idea of having the door reflect that mindset. Students should not have to guess what ‘success’ in a highly-effective classroom looks like. Your classroom arrangement is the physical foundation of where your students will learn. Relate to the interests of your students and the trends of their generation. My students enjoy, as do other staff in the building, my library/reading area. 1. Plan on this kind of transfer from the beginning. I connected with #5 and love the importance of giving choice to students! Many teachers force students to ask questions at the outset of units or lessons, often to no avail. Office Fax 503-399-3469. The optimal learning environment takes this experience into account. Personalized learning is likely the future, but for now, the onus for routing students is almost entirely on the shoulders of the classroom teacher. Bloom’s taxonomy is constantly traveled up and down, from the simple to the complex in an effort to maximize a student’s opportunities to learn—and demonstrate understanding—of content. Huge shift in credibility. Criteria for success is balanced and transparent. 6. Almost all of us have spent a great deal of time in the classroom, beginning in kindergarten and extending for years beyond. One response is to personalize learning—to whatever extent you plan for—by a variety of criteria—not just assessment results or reading level, but interest, readiness-for-content, and others as well. Unfortuntely, positive learning environments don't just happen on their own–they must be created. Old thinking is revisited. Reinforcement learning (RL) is an area of machine learning concerned with how software agents ought to take actions in an environment in order to maximize the notion of cumulative reward. As any trainer or facilitator knows, there’s a surprising amount of thought that goes in to the room set up of any workshop. Books for students to read after finishing work, pencils, pens, computers are just to name a A blank door does not invoke excitement or learning. This is a great resource, these five ways are action steps to creating an optimal environment for our students. Questions are more important than answers. As great as it sounds for learners to reflect on Shakespeare to better understand their Uncle Eddie—and they might—depending on that kind of radical transfer to happen entirely in the minds of the learners by design may not be the best idea. The second door for me speaks to student ownership and acquiring of knowledge by hooking them through curiosity and wonder. I think this is something that really helps build a strong classroom community. Wherever we are, we’d all like to think our classrooms are ‘intellectually active’ places. (Interested in how to kill learner curiosity in 12 easy steps?). Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Are you moving from one lesson to another too quickly? https://www.imagineschools.org/our-resources/, Celebrating Imagine Schools 2020 Promising Practices, Imagine Schools Wins National Award for Character Education, Imagine Scholars Emphasize Resilience in 2020 National Character Essay Contest, Imagine Schools COVID-19 (Coronavirus) News. Required fields are marked *. Thank you for sharing. The students ask the questions—good questions. A supportive environment facilitates and enhances the social, academic, physical and emotional development of students. 8. When instructing, being expressive and infusing sincere emotion into your voice, promotes student enthusiasm and passion. In a highly-effective learning environment, learning doesn’t need to be radically repackaged to make sense in the ‘real world,’ but starts and ends there. Each factor is, in itself, a broad set of issues. 0 0 1 Classroom learning ’empties’ into a connected community. The learning environment theoriesfocus on different constructs within the educational system that include the student, society, and the content being taught. Optimal learning criteria can be defined by the following key categories: Better physical health 2. Definition of the Environment To understand play, we first must understand the importance of the environment in the eyes of children and adults. When your athletes feel … It is lite up with soft light and has a curtain top and beaded entrance. The brain is a physiological organ which is specialized for making sense, making meaning or 'learning'. There are some really good points about using the classroom door as the initial space of sense and wonder as the kids come in every day. [or] a development of learning abilities and strategies” (p. 13). Creating that sense of belonging and unique bond reminds me of strong classroom cultures that develop mission statements and truly strong inclusive cultures. Learning is a survival-oriented and therefore a natural function of the brain. Curiosity, persistence, flexibility, priority, creativity, collaboration, revision, and even the classic Habits of Mind are all great places to start. Assessment is persistent, authentic, transparent, and never punitive. By “safe” I don’t simply mean physical safety, but I am really referring to creating a safe environment so that this age group does not feel judged or a risk of failure. 8 | NCICLE. Cognitive theori… Design bulletin boards … Cliché questions that reflect little understanding of the content can discourage teachers from ‘allowing’ them. Instruction is strengths-based, culturally responsive, and personalized to ensure students meet the demands of grade-appropriate standards. It’s crucial to make personal connections with your … Spend time with students individually every day. A supportive environment strives to be one in which: students are treated with respect and fairness by teachers, other staff and other students members of the school community feel valued Doors four and five speak to knowing our students and connecting with them on deeper levels as well as empowering them (shared values). 9. Office Phone 503-399-5548. ), credit (give them points—they love points), creative curation (writing as a kind of graffiti on large post-it pages on the classroom walls), or simply praise and honest respect. 10 Characteristics Of A Highly Effective Learning Environment. They show five ways to create an optimal learning environment. In your quest to foster safe learning environments, your biggest ally along the way will be your learners themselves. I have always been a big believer in making a place where we spend so much of our time as cozy and inviting as possible. Understanding what motivates people to put forth effort, persevere in the face of obstacles, and choose their behaviors is key to creating an optimal learning environment—the type of school that policy makers desire, but are unknowingly sabotaging (Dweck, 2000).
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