Tips for teachers: Creating a positive learning environment

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young girl learning at school

Schools are back! Our top tips for creating a positive learning environment for the new school year ahead.

September has arrived, and whether you’re ready or not you’re back to school as you know it. To help and get your head in the game we are revisiting some top tips on creating a positive learning environment for the new school year ahead.

Learn from previous experiences

If you are to ask anyone to recall a story about a teacher from their school days, 9/10 times someone will recall a bad experience. Remember the time that your teacher made you feel less intelligent than you deserved? Build students confidence in their creativity and intelligence by rewarding good behaviour more than enforcing punishments for mistakes.

Encourage open networking

Team activities in the classroom are excellent opportunities to engage students with different personalities and cultures than their own social circles. Assign introverts with extroverts, and give shy personalities a chance to develop confidence. Find ways to channel an introvert’s idea through a more confident extrovert when during presentations in order to encourage confidence.

Keep lectures short

Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada to study brain activity, and results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 (due to the backlash from technological advancements), to 8 seconds in 2015. Considering a fish has an average attention span of 9 seconds, it can be said that people now have an attention span of a goldfish. Keep students engaged with activities and open questions. Try not to let yourself go off on a whim, despite how much information your brain has managed to retain on the topic.

Learn from other teachers

Make a conscious effort to discuss with other teachers about their classroom experiences. Find out what works for them, and how they deal with stress and unsettling behaviour.

Make information relative

Use relatable examples when story telling. Compare main characters to people whom the audience already know, or can compare with. This will help students feel more involved, and therefore remember information easier when it comes to exam time.

Listen to your students

It is important to remember that not everyone’s brain works the same way. Whenever the opportunity arises and classroom discussions give insight into students’ lives, community and culture then learn as much as you can about your students. Try and always assume the best in all of your students and try not to pick favourites. A classroom where each student trusts the teacher can prove to be an excellent learning environment, so from the start, identify yourself and tell your students who you are and why you are there.

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Remember that you and your students are only human. You can plan, map, and research all summer, but once those kids get in the room anything can happen.  You don’t have to have everything together on day one.” – Amy Hirzel