- The Definition of the ‘Perfect Learning Environment’
- Characteristics of Perfect Learning Environment
- Building a Perfect Learning Environment: The How-to Guide
- Factors Required to Maintain the Perfect Learning Environment
- Enhancing the Perfect Learning Environment Over Time
- Challenges Faced while Creating the Perfect Learning Environment
- Are Perfect Learning Environments Worth the Effort?
- Latest Posts
When we think of a classroom, the first thing that comes to mind is a classic view of one. The four-walled room, with benches and chairs. The next thought is the student that occupy the classroom. The books that they have. The teacher at the podium. The material they study. Albeit the other components followed, our first thought was the four-walled classroom. The classic thought did come in first before the other components followed. This highlights the importance of the study environment. While the material forms an important component, the learning environment plays a major role.
How exactly should a learning environment be? While most teachers argue that a situation that arises motivation amongst students does the trick, it requires more work than that. A teacher needs to go beyond formulated goals and study materials. Only then the importance of a perfect learning environment and its impact on the students can be assessed.
While it’s not just one or two components that make up a learning environment, each component plays an important role. While the curriculum does shape the material that is learned, the environment shapes the personality of the student in many ways. So how can the learning experience be optimized with changes in the learning environment?
The Definition of the ‘Perfect Learning Environment’
There are several forms of learning models present today. They challenge the existing traditional form of learning. With altered practices and techniques, one can create an environment that encourages the student’s independence and ability to make decisions. The overall goal, however, is to prepare students not for problems within the classroom, but for the real world.
So what exactly creates the ‘perfect learning environment’? Is it the teacher with creative teaching strategies? The alignment of materials around? The students fixed to a routine? The creation of a perfect learning environment follows almost the same strategy as teaching strategies do. Regardless of the blended forms, we use to achieve the goals, the result is what matters.
So what exactly should we be aiming for, as results from a ‘perfect learning environment’? Similar to how teaching strategies can ensure the formation of a learning community, a perfect learning environment does the same. With constant and creative opportunities for growth, it involves both students and teachers. The criteria for success here depends on the changed perspective students will have about the curriculum.
The environment surrounding, the students is just as crucial as every other factor. It can influence student thinking and behavior in a way that even the curriculum alone faces a hurdle while shaping. Having a study environment that fosters creativity and positivity is a major plus point. The learning environment is critical towards shaping concentration, productivity, idea formulation, and so on.
The study environment preferences change from student to student and this can prove to be a challenge. The space chosen must be comfortable enough for a group of students and not just one. However, despite the hurdles, when teachers do commit to providing a learning environment that has more pros and cons, a perfect learning environment is created regardless.
Characteristics of Perfect Learning Environment
Creating a perfect learning environment can be considered as one of the more creative aspects of learning. While teaching focuses on the curriculum and how it can be dealt with, this focuses on a different aspect. A learning environment focuses on finetuning a student’s experience while learning.
Teaching strategies can be finetuned by using various methods such as technology and blended methods of learning. Perfecting a learning environment can involve broader strategies and ways of thinking. A student’s learning capabilities can be heavily influenced by the social, physical, and psychological aspects of the environment. A conductive atmosphere can be gained, if the following characteristics are considered,
Make Students the Main Focus
Every strategy has a particular goal in the end. The formation of a learning environment that fosters the development of students is the ultimate goal. Addressing the needs of the students becomes a priority.
When these needs are med, learners tend to be happier and engage with their peers and teachers more as well. When there are positive changes observed, with minor changes made in the environment they contribute to the goal. Students end up developing a positive attitude towards learning when the perfect learning environment is present.
Note Their Well-Being
It is often seen that the behavioral aspects of students are considered as topics beyond the classroom. When these sorts of approaches towards student development are taken, these factors come into play as well. Students need to feel welcome and safe in their environment.
It is essential to have strict disciplinary practices in an educational institution. However, the enforcing of some may have an impact that affects students. They may hamper their performance and their relationship with peers and students. Suspensions and detentions could be examples of such strict disciplinary practices.
Even though it takes effort, building a friendly, respected environment can have a healthy impact on students. The code of conduct should be communicated well and the students must understand the same.
When education goes beyond curriculum and extends into the physical and mental well-being of students, a perfect learning environment is created.
Assess and Provide Feedback
With any new form of learning, continuous assessment is a good way of recording progress. It allows teachers to understand what is working and what needs to be changed or improved. Feedback not only motivates the teacher but also maintains an interactive learning environment.
For teachers who are new to the idea, monitoring students can be of various types. One can allow peer to peer assessment, behavioral assessments, grading, and so on. Tracking this progress and making changes accordingly helps achieve the goal of a perfect learning environment.
Approach Blended Forms of Learning
Part of the traditional classroom experience was an unchanged environment that came along. With the goal of a different environment of learning, come the different approaches teachers would have to take. Blended forms of learning address creative forms of learning.
Characteristics of a strong learning environment are promoted by a blended form of learning that allows for collaboration. Project-based learning, flipped classrooms are dome examples that promote collaborative forms of learning. Interactive classes, visual-based lectures, and games can help increase the concentration and attention span of students.
Motivation as a Backbone
As a teacher, it can be quite a burden to have the entire task set upon yourself. However, when collaborative relationships are established, this task may seem less of a burden and more of a learning process. When students are informed of the processes and strategies required to reach the objective, they tend to involve themselves as well.
At any point when things may seem like they require more effort, motivation is the key to continuing the project. When students are involved, their feedback and support act as important steps. Celebrating simple steps of success increase motivation as well.
Appreciation is the Key
A huge part of forming a perfect learning environment is the way of looking at the setup.
Appreciation can be the key to positive behavior, unlike humiliation or strict measures.
Traditional classrooms have often lead to conditions where students have felt ‘humiliated’ due to labels. It is important to express opinions regarding behavior and assessment of the students, but when it is dealt with in a positive manner, students learn the same. Professional and positive behavior is enhanced, when the proper elements of change are highlighted and necessary changes are made.
These are some characteristics that are essential and must be seen in a perfect learning environment However, the characteristics that make it perfect may be much more than this. Depending on the students and the teacher who puts in the collective effort, a holistic environment can be created.
A thriving environment leads to outcomes that are quite hard to achieve with a traditional based learning method. An environment that allows them to learn and feel responsible for the learning done is a job well done. A positive learning environment also inculcates habits that might give students a headstart in a professional environment.
Building a Perfect Learning Environment: The How-to Guide
When building the perfect learning environment, one must understand that there are several elements that contribute to it. Each of these elements works its own way and it is essential to consider their part. To keep an open mind regarding all aspects can help.
As teachers who embark on creating this environment, an authentic reality check is required. The goal should be to ultimately affect the student’s academic, emotional, and social success in school and outside this four-walled classroom. A safe space where respect and trust are developed and positive interaction is the norm is what a perfect learning environment must contain.
Steps to Create a Positive Learning Environment
To get started on building a positive learning environment, here are some rules to follow:
- Creating Physical Space
Catering to students’ natural interests and providing an environment that leads to effective learning is a key point. Arrangement within the benches and desks of a four-walled classroom may promote the elements for an effective platform. When the given resources are organized properly, it enables students to concentrate better as well.
The logic lies in understanding that a messier desk may lead to a clutter of thoughts, and a cleaner desk might lead to an organized mindset. The indoor environment provided should provide a physical space that goes beyond indoors. Students must have an environment that encourages their interests and things that matter to them, beyond a classroom.
- Involve Blended Forms of Learning
For teachers, it is often a creative process to discover the interests and talents of students. At certain ages, students tend to have predictable interests that can be leveraged into learning. The more relevant a topic can be altered to their interests, the more involved the students will be in them.
Blended forms of learning such as using project-based learning, collaborative techniques can bring about additional skills. When students are not confined to books, their individual needs are addressed. Teachers can choose and adapt different forms of learning according to the topics.
- Ensure that the Code of Conduct is Understood
With any other form of learning besides traditional, there is some form of collaboration between teacher and student. As such, one of the first steps would be to establish confidence and trust between students and teachers. Relevant information is exchanged and understood on both ends, enriching the learning experience.
Strict disciplinary practices may ensure that the discipline is inculcated, however, the method may be harsh. Instead, when students are made to understand how a system works, and the effects of the same, they tend to understand. When rules are explained and discipline taught in a calm manner, students do grasp the topic.
- Developing a Positive Attitude
Certain habits that develop positive attitudes can be taught by the teacher. A large part of feelings in students is derived from the response to their actions that they get. Rewarding systems such as grades, tokens, stars for behaviour can increase positive behaviour. However, these only form a part and not the entire system for developing a positive attitude.
Making students understand the importance of correcting their behaviour is also a task that can be made easier when students cooperate. Corrections in behaviour and their attitude can be modified by explaining the change in a positive manner.
- Make Cooperation Important
Most curriculum imparting methods encourage and recognize individual effort. This supports a competitive mindset and can also help students grow. However, collaboration is just as important as an individual effort but takes in a lot more effort than the former.
With collaboration, students learn the importance of teamwork and how everyone plays their specified part towards the oriented goal. Playing ice breakers and games can help students get to know each other and understand their strengths. Group projects are all about the growth process along with the result, unlike individual projects.
It takes time and effort to prepare a “perfect learning environment” and the effort can never be one-sided. In modern knowledge-based economies, demand for skills that go beyond the classrooms continues to grow. To prepare students for the same, facing these challenges at an earlier stage like school is a challenging task.
Traditional modes of learning have always distinguished in an academic manner. From the academically talented to the ones who are less so. This speaks for the need for customized forms of learning in this age. These perfect learning environments can identify and develop the talents of all students.
Teachers form the professional community that can bring about this change in schooling. Teachers contain the authority to act and implement change. The necessary information can be passed onto students as well so that they can assist them in implementing and bringing about this perfect learning environment.
Factors Required to Maintain the Perfect Learning Environment
As challenging as it sounds, creating and maintaining the perfect learning environment is quite the task. Over the course of time, there might be challenges added on and hurdles to cross.
Taking the time to perfect the environment step by step is always better than an ineffective one.
With proper resources and engagement, students and teachers can work together to maintain the perfect learning environment. When teachers layout the proper resources and ensure effective usage of them, maintenance becomes a tad bit easier. As these environments promote students’ independence, they tend to play their part in maintaining this environment as well.
Here are some factors that are required to maintain the perfect learning environment:
|Classroom Arrangement||An element that is often overlooked, spatial arrangement forms an important part as it promotes interaction between students. Changing spatial arrangement can be done during classes as well. The classroom layout must be flexible.|
|Physical Environment||The lighting, space, sound can affect the learning outcome just as much as every other element. While it is challenging to meet every student’s comfort zone, a variety of activities can be tried. There might be students with special needs who require extra attention as well.|
|Responsibility||An important shift that comes with blended forms of learning is shared responsibility. When students are trusted to take responsibility for the type of learning they are comfortable with, effective results can be obtained.|
|Code of Conduct||The shift from traditional learning may require the discarding of some rules. However, new rules are to be set up and explained to students effectively. This leads to confidence and trust established between teachers and students.|
|Creative Environment||A teacher can use various methods and rewards system, encouragement to foster creativity in the classroom. A mundane routine strictly adhering to textbooks may lead to less attention. A creative classroom encourages students to think outside the box, which a lot of real-life situations require.|
|Resources||An important task of the teacher would be to decide the resources required. Once that is assembled, one should make sure that it is accessible by every student. Be it offline or online resources, students must have complete access. In an increasingly digital era, online resources can be made use of for collaborative purposes as well.|
|Preach Positive Attitudes||Besides the teacher and student interaction, peer to peer interaction is a major part of classrooms. The way they interact can have a huge impact on student behavior as well. Teaching them to be kind and positive towards each other’s efforts is necessary. Practicing this can help during collaboration, where each person’s effort is appreciated and the goal achieving becomes easier.|
|Hands-on Learning and Discussion||Despite the type of blended form of learning used, make sure the students are involved in the activities. Discussions between students or between students and teachers have them engaging at a deeper level. Discarding the idea of seating students according to a category may be useful as well. When all students are equally included in a discussion, the center of learning is around them.|
|Different Formats of Assignments||While traditional forms of learning had students competing and writing for a grade, a whole change is brought about by blended forms. Here, assessments are important. A trial and run in situations are considered as different types and formats of assignments are given. Such assignments also bring the change from individual learning to group learning.|
|Discipline||The one thing that traditional learning brought about was routine. Albeit it was mundane, it did stick in the minds of the students. Students need to understand that even though things around them constantly change and the way learning is done is different the routine exists. The routine is heavily dependent on their discipline and dedication to the same. Hence their effort results in the overall success of a perfect learning environment.|
All these methods and materials need not require a “start from scratch” mentality. It is all about creatively upgrading the existing space. Along with the addition of these necessary materials and resources, the learning opportunities for students to increase.
Holistic development occurs when the learning environment supports the student’s learning and development through the curriculum.
Creating such perfect learning environments can lead to vibrant and flexible spaces that are responsive to the student’s interests. The environments must fulfill the basic necessities of being neat, aesthetically pleasing, and organized.
With this approach, the environment can be regarded as the “third teacher” after parents and teachers. Students’ engagement and increased interaction due to the environment help them construct their own learning. While indoor learning spaces are usually the ones worked upon, teachers could take a creative step ahead and try the same with outdoor learning spaces as well.
Enhancing the Perfect Learning Environment Over Time
It is only natural that student’s behavior and habits and technology change over time. As a teacher, one must be open-minded to all these changes and make suitable adjustments accordingly. The perfect learning environment stays perfect overtime when the necessary changes are made.
A dynamic classroom, when met with a strategized approach can work wonders. Working into previously uncharted territories can be a fun experience when students and teachers are involved together. A perfect learning environment can provide a wholesome educational experience.
The physical foundation where education is imparted is bound to change. Hence when certain factors and characteristics are kept in mind, it makes adjusting to change easier. A facility that is equipped to change as education and curriculum changes is apt.
Here are some areas that are equipped to change over time and how to handle them:
Technology is breaking barriers every day and its entry to the classroom has been viewed as quite the savior. Taking education to a digital platform is something that has been experimented with by many institutions. Given the pros that come along with it, digital education is even preferred for certain topics in the curriculum.
Students can find additional resources for topics in the curriculum. Digital learning paves the way to podcasts, videos, referring to material online, and learning more. Online collaboration can be enhanced and practiced.
The advent of digital technology in the classroom definitely hasn’t diminished the importance of a teacher. To learn newer forms of technologies and teach students the importance of the same can help. Using digital technology creatively for imparting education can also enhance the learning environment.
Modern learning environments do not only refer to enclosed, single-use spaces. Traditional classrooms had lesser windows, enclosed spaces but with blended forms of learning, the possibilities increase. From open classrooms to visual transparency based sections, certain designs could also be cost-effective.
Common areas for study, creative spaces, rooms designed to teach certain topics are some examples. It not only makes it easier for teachers to supervise students but also to assess their performance. It creates a public space for celebrating and observing student work.
With new and creative forms of learning, why limit assessments to the usual pen and paper as well? Or projects that required individual grading? In a perfect learning environment, the conditions are suited for all forms of learning and projects. Student assessments could be wide-ranged, based on their behavior to grades and their collaborative capabilities.
When assignments such as project-based learning are brought into play, assessments can be done on each level. Students learn real-life skills and are trained to work for more than a grade. With assignments, newer concepts, and topics related to current needs can be added. Student assessment takes on a whole new role in this learning environment.
The materials used for various topics in the curriculum can be changed over time. With the advent of technology in classrooms, using materials to explain concepts has greatly reduced. However, they can still be put to use for creative manners of explaining topics or as forms of assessment as well.
It is essential to also make sure that the materials are changed over time. Newer materials and newer forms of management can help them stay up to date.
With any education system, the curriculum is revised every couple of years. As a teacher, it is your priority to make sure you are prepared to handle these curriculum changes. However, with traditional based learning, the requirement was only every couple of years.
Any teacher at their job using different forms of learning understands the importance of teaching current situations. When the curriculum is revisited every couple of years, some information may be missed out on. Adding elements and creating awareness about topics whenever possible is a positive element.
While traditional classrooms allow for individual-based learning, group learning is an opportunity that can be embarked upon in this learning environment. Student assessment becomes complex however more skills can be developed. Students learn the importance of group work and how it can contribute to the overall result.
Individual-based assessments may eventually lead to a different form of thinking. Students may not feel the need to actually interact ad somehow just work towards the grade. With group-based, students tend to work on their strengths and weaknesses and work together as a team towards the goal.
A perfect learning environment is designed for everyone’s well being and for everyone to work at their full potential. With relevant infrastructure and resources, teachers can create a holistic educational experience. The requirement isn’t for the latest infrastructure and resources to be there but the effective usage of the existing ones.
However, as every learning environment does there might be hurdles to face before it becomes “perfect” as such. Concrete measures to ensure that all forms of bullying, discrimination, and other behavior are not allowed. There must be respect for diversity in all stages. Conflict resolution must not only be a teacher to student activity but amongst peers as well.
More often than not, the focus is usually on a student’s academic performance. During this line of focus, parents and teachers may sometimes forget that the environment plays a pivotal role as well. A positive welcoming atmosphere may even make the students devoid of stress and ultimately perform better in academic and non-academic activities.
Challenges Faced while Creating the Perfect Learning Environment
Due to the demands that are already present within traditional forms of learning, teachers can end up neglecting the learning environment. All their effort and focus may go towards developing material for classes instead of on the quality of their learning environment. However, the time spent considering the issues and perfecting the environment can really bring about change.
The greatest challenge to creating an environment can be within the faculty or with the students. There might be challenges faced in every sector. As long as the teachers keep the ultimate goal in mind and work towards the same, expected results and more can be accomplished.
Some of the challenges faced could be in these sectors:
Traditional forms of learning have always placed the power in the faculty’s hand. To have it transferred to be balanced between the teachers and students might take some time being adjusted to. A level of confidence and trust needs to develop among students and teachers.
The learning modules and timings are controlled by the students. The teaches can only observe the changes in students and assess them accordingly. This leads to a lack of control. The right amount of confidence and an assured notion about the students leads to an enriched learning experience.
One of the elements that are quite not regulated by the teacher is infrastructure. It is something that is provided by the educational institutions and hence a teacher can only modify the existing ones. If the institution decides to provide newer forms of infrastructure or modify the same, preparing the creative space is up to the teacher.
However, there may be instances where the infrastructure may not be supportive enough. In such cases, the teacher can think of outdoor spaces. Incorporating outdoor spaces and indoor spaces constitutes a learning model with a balance.
Technology is usually considered a boom when it comes to education. It can be quite challenging to ensure access to technology for each and every student. A more blended model of offline and online can be encouraged.
While online learning does help with revisiting lectures and getting extra material, access is a barrier. When a teacher decides to use a certain form of technology, they must keep every student in mind. Equality of access is something the digital tool must offer before use in the classroom.
As a teacher, students tend to usually focus and follow rules that you decide. There is a communication barrier that exists due to the idea of the hierarchy. When a learning environment is developed that is seen as safe and welcoming, communication becomes more effective.
Students tend to ask more questions and are more comfortable around teachers. They are made to understand their responsibility and role towards being responsible for their own learning
While these are some of the issues that can be faced, there are several others. There are certain issues that can be controlled and some beyond. The most important task becomes tackling the issue at hand and making sure a positive environment is present.
Are Perfect Learning Environments Worth the Effort?
Teachers need to reflect on their objectives, a learner’s peak performance, and when it can be achieved. The need for educators to experiment and investigate more about the learning environment. And how it can be perfected further is the need of the hour.
A perfect learning environment is a delicate design that is maintained by well-defined principles and methodologies.
Due to such learning environments coming forward, students are able to bridge the information gap that exists between the knowledge accumulated and the industry. The perfect learning environment is one that is well organized and flexible towards change. It works through a system of giving and take between students and teachers and among peers as well.
Advantages of Perfect Learning Environment
Here are just some of the advantages of a perfect learning environment and why it is truly worth all the effort:
- It paves the way for regular mentoring and assessment of various sorts.
- The learning environment supports the diversity of students that exists today.
- A perfect learning environment raises the expectations of students which encourages risk-taking.
- Physical spaces are arranged creatively and maximum use of spaces is made.
- A degree of trust and respect is developed, which traditional forms of learning could not provide.
- A perfect learning environment required cooperation from teachers and students. Commitment on both ends leads to results.
- Documenting the progress and growth of students is complicated but the results are precise.
- Students tend to engage more in peer to peer discussions and tend to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Collaborative learning spaces create a balance between knowledge and real-life skills.
- Passive students who depend on teachers for a particular flow of curriculum are placed with responsibility. The ownership of learning is up to them which helps them reflect on their own learning performance.
- The conventional idea of a particular teacher teaching only this subject is disrupted. Teachers also explore various areas of teaching.
- A safer space is created for students which allows for the overall development and increasing trust.
- A sense of respect is developed as students see teachers and other peers as teammates and not in an order of hierarchy.
By the end of this article, one may understand that a perfect learning environment is not static in any form. It is a dynamic, fun, changing environment that tackles real-life issues within a classroom.
In a perfect learning environment, teachers take risks, explore, and embark on a wide range of learning approaches.
For students, a perfect learning environment is a vital component for social, emotional, and academic development. There is no definitive outcome from a perfect learning environment, rather it is the students who are perfected. They undergo a stage of development that prepares them to handle situations in real life.
As students embark on an educational journey, they require opportunities for holistic development. From infrastructure to collaboration and changes in curriculum, each and every aspect that a student encounters affects them. In alignment with the changes that occur in real life, when students are exposed to a learning environment that acknowledges it, even their daily learning experiences turn into quality education. It is not just the elements or the infrastructure that make up the perfect learning environment, it is the impact it makes and the socially, emotionally, and academically aware students that it results in.
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