A Positive Learning Environment, Coupled with Innovation and Technology is a Winning Combination
How often have you walked by a classroom where students are sleeping, texting or staring off into space? That’s an ineffective classroom environment. What about the class that’s very active, with students talking and moving around? Does that mean it is an effective class? Or, is it just a busy class?
Most educators agree effective classroom instruction produces happy students that achieve desired learning outcomes. Studies back up this idea. They show effectiveness is due not only to the creation of a positive learning environment but one where innovation and technology are also foundational aspects.
It Starts With Heart
To be effective, instruction must be led with a heartfelt desire to reach every student, backed with the belief that every student can succeed. Once students truly recognize genuine care for them, as individuals, they can begin to reach their highest potentials.
The way to start creating this environment, and opening student minds, is through the spoken word. Students need to hear the message they are worthy and valued every day.
From Words to Action
Words, are the cornerstones while actions are the pillars. How we behave, what we model, lends strength and credibility to our words. It is not enough to suggest we respect each other; we have to explain what that means and then demonstrate how it is applied.
The Emboldened Environment
Once a positive environment is created, where students feel respected, experience fair play, care, and value, on a routine basis, their affect is widened. Their fears diminish and their courage to take risks, and to be wrong, rises. This emboldened environment paves the path for a fun, exciting, experiential classroom that is inviting for all students.
Harness Technology as a Tool
Finding ways to capture and hold the attention of today’s student is no easy task. Technology is our competition, and we all know how quickly it is advancing, improving, luring away our students. It is in the realm of technology where our students live out a major portion of their day, so we have a choice; join them in their comfort zone or try to force them out of it.
A Few Effective, Fun Tech Tools
It would be easier, and more productive, to herd cats than it would be to keep a student away from her technology.
You have to choose to put technology to use instead of fighting it. For example, play Kahoot! to create exciting, fast-paced educational games. To access the artist/creative learners provide them with a comic-building tool like BitStrips. When you want students to manipulate variables to witness the outcome of their actions, set them up with a Gizmo. And, use NearPod to create exciting, hands-on learning that gives instant feedback about their understanding. To keep your students from falling behind because they missed a day, use MyHaikuClass where you can post videos, quizzes, PowerPoints, links, photos, assignments, calendars, discussions and much more.
Effective facilitators know effective instruction is enduring when driven by the use of best practices, such as Understanding by Design, Proficiency-Based Learning, differentiated instruction, and Backward Design. They also employ a wide range of tools, such as SIOP practices.
How You Win!
In summary, creating an effective instructional environment isn’t about how you manage the students. It starts with relationships and moves to creating a learning synergy, where students are provided a safe, fun, and interesting environment. This empowers them to be engaged in meaningful activities. Then they manage themselves.