Positive Learning Environments

22 Sep

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There is no doubt we have created a society where schools and their students are driven by credits. I took time this week to reflect on what a positive learning environment may look like . That is, an environment not driven by this.

  1. Diminish the emphasis on traditional testing as the key assessment tool, and focus on more “natural” and diverse assessment approaches such as essays and papers, reflective journals, oral presentations, classroom blog, and other demonstrations of their learning.
  2. Create the belief that effort makes a difference in learning. Go back to that idea of process and the outcome will follow. Help students understand that when someone works hard, they are more likely to succeed.
  3. Include narratives on report cards that focus on individual strengths and interests rather than numbers.
  4. Focus on thinking rather than remembering facts.
  5. Focus primarily on student strengths and student success. For each student, consider “the glass as half full” rather than “the glass as half empty”. Encourage students as much as possible. Understand that not all students will be strong in all areas, and that it is important to help each student find his or her strengths and interests and to build on them. Also, see “failure” as an opportunity for student growth. I have written about this a great deal. It is OK to fail.
  6. Be willing to “slow down the learning process”. If the learning takes you off in a tangent, away from the learning plan that is OK.

What do you think? Any tips? I feel part two might be in order.

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