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Building a Positive Learning Environment

How do I build a Positive Environment?

Building a Postive Learning Environment

Fostering Student Engagement

Momentum in 50 Minute Classes, Leah Ferguson

Approaches to Consciously Build the Environment

To build on the success of your opening lesson and to create an open, rewarding, and responsive classroom environment, you might consider using the following approaches:

  • Work hard to learn students names. One trick is, with permission of the students, use a digital camera to photograph students holding a piece of paper with their name on it. Do this in groups of three or four students and then review them between classes.
  • Listen to what students say without comment. Use eye contact, non-verbal cues such as a nod, and facial expression to indicate your interest.
  • Don't dismiss student comments with a vague phrase such as "uh-huh" or "okay."
  • Try to incorporate student comments and responses into your material.
  • Encourage students to respond to each other by inviting them to comment on a remark a classmate has made.
  • Write insightful responses or comments on the board to emphasize the value of student contributions to your class.
  • If you are not sure what a student is asking, ask some questions which will help you clarify what the student is asking. Don't say, "I don't understand what you mean."
  • Never try to capitalize on students' confusion by ridiculing or joking about incorrect responses. "Humour" of this kind is bound to backfire and create the very kind of inhospitable climate you are trying to avoid.
  • Never deter questions by saying, "Well that was really straightforward. I don't suppose there are any questions, are there?" You can bet there won't be.

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