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When students enjoy a positive learning environment, they can learn the necessary concepts more readily.

Yes, students can gain knowledge in environments that are less than ideal. There is no reason to put that difficulty in front of them. Traditional classrooms aren’t always positive, and abandoning a model that is less than ideal is okay. What makes a positive learning environment?

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An effective learning environment produces better results

Many learning environments are not set up for success. This can be changed by first eliminating what isn’t working. Once the “bad” elements have been stripped away, they can be replaced with positivity. It is always better to lean into the strategies that provide positive results, even if they are new.

Consistency is another key to the creation of a positive learning environment. Consistency helps learners feel safe. They can behave accordingly when they know a particular action will yield a specific response. If there is inconsistency, destructive behaviors can emerge as students test the classroom boundaries to see what they can and cannot get away with.

Focus on positivity

When educators focus on what is right, students feel more comfortable taking risks. Instead of taking the time to point out what’s wrong or less than ideal, educators can continuously praise what is going right. Corrections can be made gently, allowing the students to self-correct. No one likes to be wrong, and when there is a lot of focus on errors, it can be difficult for learners to find the confidence to participate in classroom activities. Rather than go out of your way to point out errors and mistakes, focus on maintaining a positive environment that fosters learning.

Give credit where it is due

Many students become disengaged when they feel like only their mistakes are recognized. Educators are reinforcing positive habits by taking the time to praise things that go right. This, in turn, leads to a much more positive learning environment. Students tend to thrive when they receive praise as well as necessary corrections. This is not to say that errors and mistakes should be ignored. Positively address them. One strategy is to praise something about the answer, such as critical thinking or being brave enough to participate in class, and then gently administer a correction.

Safe and secure

Classroom safety goes beyond physical safety and comfort. Safety also applies to the idea of individual safety. Students will soon become more confident when they feel like they can be themselves. A feeling of security extends to feeling able to take risks even if there is a chance that they might be wrong. Students mocked or ridiculed for incorrect answers or other mistakes will likely become disengaged. No one likes to operate in an inconsistent environment. Learners will likely retreat when the same or similar answer is okay one day and laugh at the next. Such a retreat will manifest in diminished classroom participation.

The first step in creating a positive learning environment is to take honest stock of the current situation. Indeed, many positive aspects of the current classroom environment can be deepened. From there, look at some current limitations and areas ripe for improvement. The following prompts can help to start the process.

When creating a safe environment, there are a few concepts to remember. Use these building blocks:

  • Identify positive characteristics to focus upon
  • Create clear teaching and learning outcomes and goals
  • Incorporate fun and engaging activities that support learning
  • Establish tools to measure outcomes and results
  • Support a culture that is focused on positivity

A supportive environment is beneficial

When a safe and supportive environment has been established, both teachers and students benefit. The students are more engaged and learn more readily, and teachers benefit from fewer outbursts and behavioral problems. Too often, behavioral problems arise from students feeling lost and left behind. When there is an environment that allows for open questioning, learners can get the extra help and attention they need.

A positive or supportive environment is no less rigorous than a traditional classroom. It’s simply that the approach to learning is a bit different. There are still expectations, and outcomes are still measured. It differs in how teachers get students from the starting point to the desired destination. To create more positivity, it’s practical to include learners in decision-making processes that affect the classroom. By allowing students to feel like stakeholders, you are increasing their feeling of engagement in their learning process.

Put students’ needs first

In traditional classrooms, the students are expected to conform to the rules of the classroom and the teachers. In some instances, the classroom is set up in a way that is detrimental to many students. This occurs in districts with a “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality. A genuinely positive learning environment will incorporate facets from both traditional teaching models and today’s more innovative and collaborative methods. Students can tell when they are a part of something and when their opinions are being swept aside. Engagement is more likely when there is a positive and truly collaborative environment in the classroom.

The student’s needs are put first when there is a push to develop more positive learning environments. This is great for all involved parties and typically results in successful interactions. This feeling of positivity and inclusivity helps to draw out the students and help them to gain more from their educational experience.

Positive learning environments also allow teachers to work more closely with their colleagues. Exchanging strategies and feedback on what methods work well can enlighten everyone involved. The bottom line is that everyone wants a productive classroom that meets the educational needs of the students, and you can do so with positive learning worksheets.