The purpose of the learning environment standard is to create a documentation of effective management techniques to ensure an atmosphere conducive to learning. The primary goal of this standard is to create classrooms that are well-managed, structured and safe, where learning can take place naturally. The central objective of this standard is to set expectations and benchmarks to which teachers will be held accountable concerning the learning environment.
The United States has always been a melting pot of cultures, languages and ethnicities. Our diversity continues to grow, and it is represented in classrooms across the nation. In order to create a safe place for learning, students need to feel respected and a sense of equality to their peers. By embracing the diversity, teachers who respect and praise the differences can create a classroom environment in which students feel confident and secure enough to participate.
I am very mindful of the diversity within my classroom. Growing up abroad afforded me an irreplaceable appreciation for different cultures. My experience in both social work, tutoring, and student teaching in the United States provided me a deeper understanding of the socioeconomic diversity found within the local school systems.
Honoring the diversity found within the classroom is near to my heart. Teachers do more than teach. We listen, encourage, we are a shoulder to cry on, a nurse, a mediator, sometimes we are the parent they are missing, or the friend they wish they had. We stand up for them and fight to help them succeed. We feed them when they come to school hungry, we find ways to clothe them, to provide stability and help them grow their confidence. Being a teacher means looking at each child as a whole being, and taking care of their basic needs, their feelings, and their safety.
My teaching philosophy contains an in depth look at my views on diversity within the classroom. To read more, click here.
Maximizing Instructional Time
A classroom with few disruptions allows for more learning to take place. Procedures and routines help to minimize disruptions and encourage a “continuous flow of learning”. At the start of the year, the rules and procedures are reviewed over, and over again. By practicing the procedures multiple times over the course of many weeks creates routines.
Individual, Small Group and Whole Group Instruction
Concerning instruction, students can be grouped in a variety of ways. Whole group, small group and individual seat work, are all various ways to seat students during instruction. While student teaching I would usually use whole group, small group, and individual instruction in single lessons. From the start of the year teachers should acquaint students with flexible groupings, so it becomes an easy transition. In my student teaching classroom, we have given all of our small groups names.