Creating Learning Environment
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Transcript of Creating Learning Environment
Group 9Abdul Rahman Tambunan Maria Priscillya Pasaribu
Think back your elementary and secondary school years. In which teachers’ classrooms were you more likely to work hard and stay on task? In which teachers’ classrooms were you more likely to misbehave? What strategies did the more effective teachers use to help you be productive?
Effective teachers not only choose instructional strategies that promote effective learning and cognitive processing, but they also create an environment that keeps students busily engaged in classroom activities. In this chapter we will consider how we can plan and create a classroom environment conducive to students’ learning and achievement.
Effective classroom management, creating and maintaining a classroom environment conducive to learning and achievements, has little to do with noise or activity level. A well-managed classroom is one in which students are consistently engaged in productive learning activities and in which students’ behavior rarely interfere with the achievement of instructional objectives. Creating and maintaining an environment in which students participate eagerly and actively in classroom activities can be a challenging task indeed. After all, we must tend to the unique needs of many different students, we must sometimes coordinate several activities at the same time, and we must often make quick decisions about how to respond to unanticipated events.
Creating an Environment Conducive to Learning
As we arrange the furniture in the classroom, decide to put various instructional materials and pieces of equipment, and think about its student might sit, we should consider the effects that various arrangements are likely to have on students’ behaviors. Ultimately, we want a situation in which we can:Minimize distractionsInteract easily with any student Survey the entire class at any given time
Effective teachers are warm, caring individual who, through a variety of statements and actions, communicate a respect for students, an acceptance of them as they are, and a genuine concern about their well-being. When students believe that their teachers are genuinely caring and supportive, they have higher self-efficacy, find classroom subject matter more interesting and enjoyable, are more likely to ask for help when they need it, are less likely to cheat on classroom assignments, and achieve at higher levels.
We should maintain a relatively businesslike atmosphere in the classroom most of the time. This is not to say that our activities must be boring and tedious; on the contrary, they can often be exciting and engaging. Students who are excessively anxious about their class performance are unlikely to give us their best. We can hold our students accountable for achieving instructional objectives yet not place them feel like failures. And we can admonish them for misbehavior yet not hold grudges against them from one day to the next.
As teacher, we give students message about the value of school subject matter not only in what we say but also in what we do. If we continually focus their attention on performance goal, what their test grades are, how their works compares to that their classmates, and so on, we increase their anxiety about school subject matter and indirectly increase the frequency of disruptive behavior. If, instead, we continually demonstrate how classroom topics relate to the outside world, if we assess learning in ways that require meaningful learning and elaboration, and if we focus on how well each student is improving over time, we show students that the subject matter isn’t just something to be learned for its own sake and create a climate more conducive to learning and productivity.
To make sure our students accomplish instructional goals, we must control the direction of classroom events to some extent. For example, we can use strategies such as these: Give students advance notice of upcoming activities and assignments (enabling them to plan ahead).Create regular routines for accomplishing assignments (enabling students to complete the assignments successfully with minimal guidance from us).Allow students to set some of their own deadlines for completing assignments (enabling them to establish a reasonable timeframe for themselves).Provide opportunities for students to make choices about how to complete assignments or spend some of their class time (enabling them to set some of their own priorities).
We want to create a sense of community in the classroom, a sense that we and our students have shared goals, are mutually respectful and supportive of one another’s efforts, and believe that everyone makes an important contribution to classroom learning.
When students share a sense of community, they are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior, stay on task, express enthusiasm about classroom activities, and achieve at high levels. Furthermore, a sense of classroom community is associated with lower rates of emotional distress, disruptive classroom behavior, truancy, violence, drug use, and dropping out.
Effective classroom managers establish and communicate certain rules and procedures right from the start. Once rules and procedures have been formulated, we should communicate them clearly and explicitly, describe the consequences of noncompliance, and enforce them consistently. Keep in mind that rules and procedures are easier to remember and therefore easier to follow if they are relatively simple and few in number.Also keep in mind that, although some order and predictability are essential for student productivity, too much order may make our classroom a rather boring.
Our students are more likely to be intrinsically motivated to follow classroom rules and procedures if we present them as items of information rather than as forms of control.We might say this: ... rather than this:“You’ll get your independent assignments done more quickly if you get right to work.”
“Please be quiet and do your own work.”
“As we practice for our fire drill, it is important that we line up quickly and be quiet so that we can hear the instructions we are given and will know what to do.”
“When the fire alarm sounds, line up quickly and quietly and then wait for further instructions.”
“This assignment is designed to help you develop the writing skills you will need after you graduate. It is unfair to other authors to copy their work word for word, so we will practice putting ideas into our own words and giving credit to authors whose ideas we borrow. Passing off another’s writing and ideas as your own can lead to suspension in college or a lawsuit in the business world.”
“Cheating and plagiarism are not acceptable in this classroom.”
“it’s important that i can clearly read your writing. If your words are illegible and your cross-outs are confusing, i may not be able to give you as high a grade as you deserve on an assignment.”
“Use good penmanship on all assignments and erase any errors carefully and completely. Points will be deducted for sloppy writing.”
As the school year progresses, we may occasionally want to revise the rules and procedures we established earlier. By providing such opportunities for students to revise classroom policies frequently, we find one more way of giving them a sense of ownership in such policies. Furthermore, perhaps because of the authoritative atmosphere and the conversations about moral dilemmas that student decision making may entail, more advanced levels of moral reasoning may result.
By acknowledging students’ feelings about tasks they would rather not do yet also pointing out the benefits of performing those tasks, we increase the likelihood that the students will accept the limitations imposed on their behavior.
Have something specific for students to do each day, even on the first day of class
Have materials organized and equipment set up before class
Have activities that ensure all students’ involvement and participation
Maintain a brisk pace throughout each lesson Ensure that student comments are relevant and helpful
but not excessively long-winded Spend only short periods of time dealing with individual
students during class unless other students are capable of working independently and productively in the meantime
Have a system in place that ensures that students who finish an assigned task quickly have something else to do
Such early tasks enable students to practice normal classroom routines and procedures; they also give students a sense that they can enjoy and be successful in classroom activities. Once a supportive classroom climate has been established and students are comfortable with classroom procedures, we can gradually introduce more difficult and challenging assignments. We might take a similar approach when introducing new instructional strategies; for instance, when we first ask students to engage in cooperative activities, we might have them work with relatively familiar content so that they can focus on mastering effective group interaction skills (asking for help, giving explanations, etc.) without being distracted by difficult subject matter.
The concept of scaffolding is helpful in this context: We can provide a great deal of structure for tasks early in the school year, gradually removing that structure as students become better able to structure tasks for themselves. For example, when introducing students to cooperative learning, we might structure initial group meetings by breaking down each group task into several subtasks, giving clear directions as to how each subtask should be carried out, and assigning every group member a particular role to serve in the group. As the school year progresses and students become more adept at learning cooperatively with their classmates, we gradually can become less directive about how group tasks are accomplished.
A physical education teacher has students begin each class session with five minutes of stretching exercises.
An elementary school teacher has students follow the same procedure each day as lunch time approaches. Students must (1) place completed assignments in a basket on the teacher’s desk, (2) put away classroom supplies (e.g., pencils, paint, scissors) they have been using, (3) get their lunch boxes from the coatroom, and (4) line up quietly by the classroom door.
A middle school mathematics teacher has students copy the new homework assignment as soon as they come to class.
A junior high school history teacher has formed long-term cooperative learning groups (base groups) of three or four students each. The groups are given a few minutes at the end of each class to compare notes on material presented that day and get a head start on the evening’s reading assignment.
A high school English composition teacher writes a topic or question (e.g., “My biggest pet peeve,” “Whatever happened to hula hoops?”) on the chalkboard at the beginning of each class period. Students know that when they come to class, they should immediately take out pencil and paper and begin to write on the topic or question of the day.
Effective teachers communicate something called withitness: they know (and their students know that they know) what students are doing at all times in the classroom. In a sense, “with-it” teachers act as if they have eyes in the back of their heads. They make it clear that they are aware of what everyone is doing. They regularly scan the classroom and make frequent eye contact with individual students. They know what misbehaviors are occurring when those misbehaviors occur, and they know who the perpetrators are.When we demonstrate such whititness, especially at the beginning of the school year, our students are more likely to stay on task and display appropriate classroom behavior.
When our students are learning and achieving successfully and when they clearly want to pursue the curriculum that the classrooms offers, they are likely to be busily engaged in productive classroom activities for the most of the school day. In contrast, when they have difficulty understanding classroom subject matter or when they have little interest in learning it, they are likely to exhibit the nonproductive or even counterproductive classrooms behaviors that result from frustration or boredom. Research tells us that when students misbehave, beginning teacher often think about what the students are doing wrong. In contrast, experienced, “expert” teachers are more apt to think about what they themselves can do differently to keep students on task, and they modify their plans accordingly. So when behavior problems crop up , we should start thinking as the experts do.
Despite our best efforts, students may sometimes behave in ways that disrupt classroom activities and interfere with student learning. Effective teachers not only plan and structure a classroom that minimizes potential behavior problems but they also deal with the misbehaviors that do occur.What strategies are most effective in dealing with student misbehaviors? We turn to this topic now.
As teachers, we need to plan ahead about how to respond to the variety of misbehaviors wee may see in the classroom. As we do so, we must keep in mind that different strategies may be appropriate under different circumstances.
We will consider six general strategies and the situations in which each is likely to be appropriate.
You can see the general strategies on your own paper.
Such a warm and supportive classroom atmosphere may be especially important for students from ethnic minority group. When working with students from lower-socioeconomic, inner-city backgrounds, we should also take special pains to create a classroom that feels safe and orderly. A classroom that is dependable and predictable can provide a sense of self-determination that students may not be able to find anywhere else; hence, it can be a place to which they look forward to coming each day.
As we determine which behaviors to define as misbehaviors in our classrooms, we must remember that some behaviors considered unacceptable in one culture may be quite acceptable in another culture. We must be patient and understanding as we help students acquire behaviors that are more conductive to academic productivity.
When students have a history of behavior problems, we may need to provide a great deal of guidance and support to help them develop productive classroom behavior. Furthermore, many students with special needs may need explicit feedback about their classroom performance. Similarly, when student display inappropriate behavior, we should tell them exactly what they have done wrong.