When a child starts going to school, they spend most of their time in the classroom, and perhaps that is one of the biggest reasons why classroom environments are regarded as an indispensable part of learning in every student’s life. A positive learning environment is a key enabler in stimulating learning and nurturing students where they feel safe & secure, engage, feel motivated, and build healthy relationships with their peers and teachers.
It is an established fact that in today’s world, students are no more only exposed to a set pattern of curriculum and information in schools. Several types of research in the past have further validated that children learn most by observing their surroundings and people around them – who may be family members, teachers, and fellow students. A child’s mood, behavior, tone, how the child feels, and overall personality is directly impacted by the classroom environment. Although every child is different and learns in his/her own independent way, by creating an inclusive, supportive, and positive environment, teachers can turn a simple classroom into an optimal learning space that leads to the student’s success.
What are the key aspects of a student-friendly classroom environment?
To enable effective and continuous teaching and learning for both teachers and students, it is imperative to create a positive psychosocial environment that meets the dynamic needs of students and balances the relationship between the psychological aspects of students including their thoughts, emotions & behaviors as well as their social experience including relationships with peers & teachers, social values, and cultural experiences. Several elements of the classroom culture affect the psychosocial environment for students such as the methods used in the learning process, classroom discipline & management, quality of student-teacher relationships, and social & emotional learning, among others.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 focuses on the quality of education and recognizes inclusive and equitable quality education. In fact, section 4.1 highlights the need to ‘Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.’
Here are a few ways to foster a healthy, conducive, and student-friendly environment in classrooms for their optimal growth:
Collaboration is a great way to stimulate conversations, increase engagement between students and among students & teachers, and to build confidence that will help young learners in the long run. An engaging and interactive classroom can lead to enhanced learning and productivity in students. However, to truly use collaboration as a tool to create a healthy classroom climate, teachers must set expectations with students and communicate with them about the same before they allow them to work together in pairs or small groups for assessments or planned activities.
Effective use of the classroom space
While behavior management and learning processes contribute to a great extent in creating an ideal nurturing environment for students in classrooms, the physical aspect of their learning place also has an important role to play. On average, a student spends 6 to 8 hours every day in a classroom. Hence, its structure, layout, infrastructure, and overall usability create a huge difference in student learning. This may include desk arrangements, wall colors, spacing between furniture, lighting, etc. For example, a classroom can have different corners, each serving a special purpose like there can be one corner dedicated to just discussions, another for highlighting bright or high-performing students, another as a play zone for children, and so on.
Facilitate self-directed learning
In the times we live in, it is of utmost importance that we prepare students for the life ahead. Mere emphasis on theoretical learning and book-based study on a set pattern is not the ideal way to teach students in schools anymore. A nurturing classroom environment where students develop life skills will help them turn into successful adults in the future. This can be done by simply providing different opportunities for them for choosing and experimenting with the skills they have learned to solve life challenges where they can have their own hypothesis, explore different solutions, adapt critical & analytical thinking, and enhance or develop problem-solving skills. Such a learning space will not only prepare the children for success beyond the academic realm but also open a world of new possibilities for them at a young age.
Give students a voice and a choice
In any given scenario, when an individual feels heard and is given a comfortable space to share opinions freely, he/she is more likely to share stories participate in discussions, and is likely to feel more connected. This goes for students as well. When a child feels that he/she is given importance and is heard, he/she is more likely to share during classroom discussions as an active participant. Such forms of student empowerment are critical for holistic development in young children, especially during their initial years in school.
A student-first learning approach enables learners to hear & share decisions or opinions freely in a safe environment, thus giving them more opportunities to interact and learn together. Further, by keeping more choices open to students, we can help them build better decision-making skills at a young age and also allow them to take risks without any element of fear which has a butterfly impact on their life ahead.
Creating student-focused learning classroom environment – A continuous effort
Recognized as the best CBSE school for admission, Pragyanam School is dedicated towards creating a thriving learning environment for students of all age groups where they feel safe & comfortable and gets the freedom to express themselves while embracing their achievements and failures as a moment of learning for future growth. Our student-centered pedagogy allows us to give each student the individual attention they need to develop not just subject-specific skills but also life skills that are necessary for their overall personal development. Being one of the top-rated schools in Gurgaon, Pragyanam continues to work towards maintaining student-friendly classroom environments to unleash their highest potential while creating a solid foundation for each student who has put their trust in us for their education.