Having read several articles and watching some videos on how to create a positive learning environment in the classroom, this article and YouTube video really captured what my expectation would be on how to go about achieving that.
What the article impressed on me is that in order to achieve a positive learning environment, the instructor must put effort into enabling the positive environment by way of understanding what works and does not work with adult learning. Setting expectations, being respectful and recognizing that adults have existing skills and experience will go a long way to enabling a positive learning environment.
This video from the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness discusses with educators what they have personally done to achieve a positive learning environment. Some elements of this that I found informative included:
- Showing enthusiasm in class
- Encouraging and rewarding participation in class
- Getting to know students and ensuring they are aware that they are valued
- Making sure as an instructor you are available and accessible to students.
Armed with this information, I then decided to speak with some of my peers who work as instructors for any tips they would suggest to enabling a positive learning environment. A lot of what they said was similar to what was detailed above, but some of the tips that they mentioned were as follows:
- Use the first class session: Use the first class session to ‘set the table’for the rest of the course. Detail what the course will cover, including learning objectives, assignment deadlines, office hours, when and where to receive assistance outside of class hours, etc.
- Bring some personality and humour to the classroom environment: Adults are self-motivating, so while there is an understanding that the course information is important, the use of humour can certainly build relationships in the classroom setting, and allow for a positive learning environment.
- Commitment: As an instructor, if a commitment is made it should be followed through if at all possible. Trust can be lost over unfulfilled commitments. One instructor used their office hours as an example. If a commitment is made to be available during certain office hours, not being available at that time to assist students can be damaging to the positive environment and result in a loss of trust.
Overall, this weeks research had brought a lot of different tips and tricks that can result in a positive learning environment for both student and instructor. Have you tried any of the above? Did you try anything not listed here that worked for you?