5. Learning Environment

5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being [1]. The classroom should be a safe and welcoming place for every student who enters it. Teachers have a responsibility to create an environment that is conducive to student flourishing. When doing so, we must consider the whole student and make decisions that support their physical, emotional, and intellectual development [1]. Throughout my experience as a student at SPU, I have learned new information that will help me apply this standard to both the classroom where I am currently student teaching, and to my own classroom in the future. I have found evidence of this standard used in both my classroom and my research.

In order to create a positive classroom environment, it is helpful for everyone to have guidelines they can follow. Below are our classroom rules we created together [2].

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Rule #7 (Not Pictured) Do your personal best.

The rules are posted in a visible place and we recite them as a class every morning. This helps everyone remember what exactly is expected of them when they come to class each day. In our classroom, we take the rules very seriously, because we know that we created them to help us learn. These rules also serve as a general outline of what we want our classroom environment to look like. They are in line with standard 5 in many ways. One of our rules is to be safe, which concerns students’ physical well-being. Another is to be nice and help others, which concerns students’ emotional well-being. Finally, one of our rules is to stay focused and work quietly, which concerns their intellectual well-being.

By following our classroom rules everyday, teachers and students are working hard to create a classroom environment that lives up to the standard [3]. As Harry Wong writes in The First Days of School, “To have a safe and effective learning environment, first establish firm rules that students are expected to follow” (143). It is encouraging to see what I’ve learned from my research being practiced every day in the classroom. From both examples, I’ve learned just how important it is to establish a good set of rules and apply them [4]. I believe that if we did not have these rules to guide us from the start, it would be a different classroom. For room 203, they serve as a daily reminder that we are here to learn, to grow, and to help and care for each other. They bring us together as a community of learners and motivate us to work together in creating a positive learning environment [4].

As a future educator, this knowledge of how to incorporate standard 5 into the classroom will benefit both me and my students, because we are all learners [5]. I hope to expand my research further on this topic through communicating with my professors, mentors, and students on how they would define a positive learning environment [6]. By reaching out to others and collecting their opinions, I can hopefully gain insights to new ways I can use this standard in my teaching.

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” -Alfie Kohn

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Room 203

References:

Wong, H. K. & Wong R. T. (2009). The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.­

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