For most people, we think of classrooms as spaces for active learning and intellectual thinking. Children spend the bulk of their time in school and in classes like those by this preschool in yishun, in a bid for education to develop their minds and to gain critical thinking skills. We learn from young that we have to sit in class, do our best to listen to our teachers, pay attention, and to do our homework well in order to learn well.
The truth is, however, classrooms may not be the most conducive and effective environment for children to learn and grow. Coupled with the large class sizes and long school hours, classrooms may not be the best for learning. Read on to find out what makes a learning environment effective and what you can do to make yours a conducive one.
Some teachers or instructors view questions as an indication of a lack of understanding of concepts and ideas. They focus much more on getting the correct answers rather than the process of asking questions. However, this should not be the case for an effective learning environment. In fact, asking questions is more important than arriving at the right answers.
This is because the process of asking a question involves thought and thinking, understanding, and processing of concepts and ideas before formulating the questions. Good questions that show depth in thinking should be especially valued, as it leads and pushes learning, prompting the learner to truly break down and understand the ideas and concepts instead of memorizing. An effective learning environment should promote and reward the asking of questions, like giving students credit through a point system, or even a simple praise like “good job with the question!”
Now that we have gone through the importance and value of questions, an effective learning environment should, therefore, help to facilitate and promote the asking of questions. However, most teachers and instructors often include a compulsory segment in class where students are made to ask a question.
Students are often forced to come up with a question by the end of the class, but this may not be as useful as we think it is. Under such an environment, questions asked are often cliche and typical ones that reflect little understanding or individual processing of ideas and concepts. In an effective learning environment, classes and content should be engaging and interactive such that it makes students think on their feet, allowing the natural formation of good and in-depth questions by the end of class.
Different learning models
Learning should not be one-dimensional but instead, utilize different learning models to ensure the most efficient and best-learning experience. In a highly effective learning environment, learning can be through inquiry-based learning, direct instruction, peer-to-peer learning, eLearning, project-based learning, mobile learning, etc.
There are so many different, creative, and new ways to facilitate learning and a good learning environment should not only focus on one. By using different learning methods, it caters to students who learn through a variety of models. It is helpful in promoting thinking and understanding while engaging with the students and helping them to absorb knowledge via the best means.
With different learning models, different people also learn through unique learning methods. Every learner is different, and they benefit and learn best from what suits them best. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all method for teaching and learning. Instructors should spend some time to get to know the needs of each student, and understand which learning methods suit them best in order to maximize learning and make it effective.
Some students learn through visual methods, others through listening, or interacting with others. Assessment criteria and content should also be varied as well, in order to suit the variety of learning methods and needs of students.
Clear criteria for assessment and success
In an effective learning environment, it is important to have clear criteria for assessment and success. By setting clear goals and expectations for learners, students can know what to expect and what they should work towards for learning. Goal setting has been proven many times to be a good way to push and maximize potential, learning, and results. With clear criteria for assessment and success, students can focus their effort and energy on maximizing learning, making the environment an effective and good one.
Opportunities for practice
Learning should not only be about all talk and theory. When learning ideas and concepts in class, it can seem abstract and distant for many students since some ideas may seem irrelevant or unrelated to the real world. Instructors can make learning fun and more relatable by providing practice examples that can relate to real-life or situations that students can comprehend.
By providing such opportunities to practice content learned and relate it to real life, it can help with the retention of ideas and concepts as well. By providing ample opportunities for practice, students can also learn more and better about abstract concepts and ideas. It can also highlight some mistakes and misconceptions that students may have about certain ideas and content. It helps to revisit old thinking, and to reflect and learn from their mistakes. Revisiting old mistakes over time can also be a good way for a learner to be clear on the areas that they are confused about. This helps to ensure that they do not repeat their mistakes the next time.
Learning and education is an age-old industry that seems to have perfected itself with tried and tested methods. However, we should constantly reflect and revise upon what makes a learning environment conducive, effective, and of good quality for learners. Ensuring the right practices can lead to an effective learning environment that promotes thinking and understanding, facilitating the learning and knowledge absorption process.
Students can maximize their learning and benefit immensely from such environments, and help make learning fun, interactive, and engaging compared to the old, cliche ways of content delivery. Thus, for all the educators out there, be sure to take a point or two from this article to improve your learning environments.