Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

November 27, 2019 6 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Teacher: Good morning.>>Dr Darling-Hammond: We respond to the
environment in which we find ourselves in a variety of ways
that affect our learning. When children are in a calm, peaceful
environment with aspects of nature around them, it builds
brain architecture and enables them to learn more. We are barraged with information
and emotion all of the time and our brain is trying to sort
things out and figure out how to put all of that in place. And in order to be able to learn,
we need a certain amount of routine and consistency and calm so that our
brain can focus on what’s important and not have to focus on
everything that is new and engaging all at the same time.>>Michelle: The environment has a
large impact on student learning.>>Resource Officer: Good morning.>>Michelle: We want school
to be a safe, welcoming place where kids want to come here every day.>>Teacher: Hi.>>Michelle: They could be
coming in in the morning with lots of different emotions–>>Teacher: We’re so glad that
you’re here this morning.>>Michelle: — that we
want to help mitigate so that they feel safe
and secure at school.>>Teacher: Good morning, Jolene.>>Teacher: We’re glad you’re here.
Let me tell you what’s happening this morning. We have pancakes for
breakfast and pears.>>Dr Darling-Hammond: It’s very
important that school be a reliable, consistent routine place where
you know what to count on, where things are somewhat predictable. Not so much that they become boring
but so much that they give you that calm feeling that I know what
it’s about, I know how to participate. And that actually opens up the
opportunity for more learning.>>Michelle: So some of the ways that we
do that are creating a calm environment where breakfast is ready for them. The teacher’s at the door
with a greeting, a hug. I missed you, I’m so happy
you’re here. We also include a lot of natural
elements in our classrooms. We have lots of plants,
which keeps the air purified. We use essential oils to help
students have calm, relaxed bodies. People want to come into
a room that smells great. And so, we turn that on in the morning
before they get here and that’s part of creating that welcoming environment.>>Lindsey: Meeting students’
needs for, like, releasing physical energy is important. Making sure that kids’ bodies feel
good is a really important step to making sure they’re brains
are in a good place for learning. Water’s available to all of
our students all the time. They all get breakfast.
They all get lunch. They’re going to movement class. They’re having time outside
in the backyard, doing a lot of gross motor play so that
their bodies are getting what they need.>>Student: Oh, yeah.>>Dr Darling-Hammond: We also know now
that the environment matters greatly to the evolution of individual
human beings. And we can create environments
that are productive, that have lots of opportunities
for exploration and learning, because that’s how human
beings grow their brains, as well as grow their knowledge.>>Michelle: We want them to
be engaged and to love it and to not want to go home. So we have incredible opportunities
and provocations at centers for them to have agency and use
their hands, create, iterate on their creations,
fail, and keep trying. And part of that helps
keep them both engaged and, at the end of the day,
man, school is really fun. I can’t wait to come back tomorrow. That’s the feeling that we
want the students to have.