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Research into educational methods reveals that classroom environment is an essential part of the learning process, and learning objective one that, when employing the various senses, provides stimulation for students. Classroom environment has the potential to:
- Stimulate a child’ curiosity
- Provide resources
- Maximize a child’s brain in the learning process
- Create motivation in the classroom
It is well understood that barren and sterile environments can be restrictive and non-stimulating.
Comfortable Classroom Environments
Manipulating various factors within the classroom environment is critical for educators to be at their best when providing instruction to students. For the sake of the comfort of both student and instructor, there are several factors to consider. First is the general environment, considering such things as temperature, lighting, and ventilation. If a room is too hot or too cold, students are not likely to pay attention to their fullest; if they cannot see the material properly due to a too-dark room, this will also impact their overall performance. If necessary, bring in additional lighting, augment the temperature with fans or space heaters, and open windows or doors to increase ventilation as needed.
Creating a warm and caring classroom environment should also play towards an educator’s teaching style and personal preferences. In creating a positive classroom environment, teachers must clearly share expectations regarding learning the content, classroom achievement, and student expectations. Setting a positive and constructive learning environment and tone from the first day is an essential ingredient in classroom environment.
The layout of the classroom itself is highly individualized; some instructors prefer certain layouts over others. Over time, instructors can identify the type of floor plan that works best for their teaching style as well as their students’ needs; varying these floor plans over the span of a semester or year might also prevent students from becoming bored with the classroom environment and, subsequently, its content. Being able to make eye contact with students is critical at all times. Manipulating seating charts to allow for greater mobility in the classroom is valuable to some, while a more rigid structure is preferred by others. Ensuring that the classroom is warm and inviting is also critical. The appropriate use of decorations, classroom artwork, and thematic elements can make a learning environment seem friendlier. Finally, using storage effectively can prevent a classroom from becoming too cluttered or overwhelming, something that might encourage poor behavior or attention difficulties in students. Through the manipulation of the classroom environment, instructors can ensure the best possible results for themselves and their students.
Cooperative Learning Classroom Environments
Utilizing cooperative learning is another essential ingredient in a classroom environment. Within a group, students must both work together in order to accomplish a goal and work with others that may be different from themselves. Above all, teachers must consider the grade level of the group at the primary grade levels, the various classroom teaching activities that will be employed throughout the year and the physical layout of the classroom environment in order to maximize the learning potential for each student. Little touches such as plants and adequate lighting can make a difference in the classroom environment.