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The Classroom Environment: First, Last, and Always
Transcript of The Classroom Environment: First, Last, and Always
The Classroom Environment
The environment of a classroom is very important to the learning process, including the entrance, space and walls. The space is crucial to children's social and academic development. All teachers, at some point, must think about the options they have for the space they are given. It's all about finding the best spaces for promoting student learning.
Brief History of the Classroom Environment
In earlier times, there were only rows of stone benches for students to work at, and bare walls. Around the start of AD, students sat in wooden desks that were screwed into the floor. The idea of design flexibility in the classroom did not come about until the 20th century. This includes moveable desks and tables, the use of wall surfaces, and small spaces for learning activity apart from the teacher.
Physical Space Aligned With Instructional Goals
It is very important to create a classroom environment that is aligned with the goals and purposes of the class.
By Kari Gagnon
“The amount, arrangement, and organization of physical space influences human behavior.”
“What people do is markedly influenced by where they are."
An effective teacher arranges the space for active learning, thought, and engagement. The room should accommodate large or small groups, so students can work, play and learn. The space should be flexible, so that students can go from listening to the teacher, to working in groups, to working independently.
Sufficient Materials Well Organized
It is necessary to have a well-stocked learning environment. This depends on two important factors, the availability of materials and the access to those materials. The materials need to be within reach of children, at both hand and eye level.
Walls That Teach
Walls are part of the classroom environment that are sometimes not used to their full-potential. The color of the wall, the amount of white space, and the organization of the walls can all influence children's learning. Some functional uses of the walls space include word walls, displays of student work, and message boards to keep students informed.
A Participatory Environment
The social environment has a powerful role in shaping a person. Classrooms should encourage a positive and intellectually engaging social environment. Social skills need to be incorporated into the classroom. Those social skills include solving problems, working together, and accepting diverse communities.
Greening the Environment
Teachers and students spend a lot of their time in the classroom, so it is important to keep the environment comfortable. There are several factors that effect learning and teaching, such as light, temperature, air quality, noise and crowding. “Greening" the classroom is becoming increasingly popular, in an attempt to make classrooms more environmentally friendly. This includes more natural lighting, less toxic cleaning supplies, improved ventilation and acoustics, better artificial lighting, and better air quality.
Teachers can “green" their classroom by maximizing natural light and using sound-absorbing materials such as curtains and plants. In addition, they can vary the air movement and temperature, by making the air warmer for quieter activities, and cooler for more physical activities.