Seven Criteria for an Effective Classroom Environment

By Ediger, Marlow | College Student Journal, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Seven Criteria for an Effective Classroom Environment

Ediger, Marlow, College Student Journal

There are a plethora of variables which affect pupils in the classroom. These might involve the obvious such as uncomfortable temperature readings a well as the following:

* small group work as compared to individual activities

* use of measurably stated objectives versus constructivism as psychologies of learning

* a very quiet environment compared to business like surroundings

* zero tolerance in discipline as compared to pupil/teacher planning of rules for classroom conduct

* teacher directed learning activities compared to a learner centered approach

* lecture/explanations versus critical and creative thinking as well as problem solving experiences

* traditional seating arrangements in rows and columns as compared

to flexible room arrangements (Ediger, 2005).

In each of the above asterisked items, committees need to work on solutions to these issues in order to resolve the dilemmas. Committees individually need to report to the total group to seek input. Eventually, several approaches may be used such as individual as well as group endeavors to meet needs of learners. Teachers and school administrators benefit when diverse ideas are presented and research is done to gather necessary information in formulating conclusions, following much deliberation. Beyond these items listed above, an appropriate related classroom environment must be in the offing in teaching and learning situations. This environment facilitates pupils achievement of relevant objectives of instruction.

Favorable Learning Environments

Proactive strategies need to be in the offing to minimize/eliminate negative behavior such as harassing others. Being harassed hinders pupil achievement and progress. Relevant rules discussed with pupils and adequate supervision should assist in identifying cases of harassment. These cases need to be handled in a way in which pupils can perceive the harm inflicted on others when harassment is in evidence. Not only does the victim feel hurt, but the perpetrator tries to get away with what he/she feels is manly or womanly. But, in all reality, it is humiliating to both. Inwardly, the perpetrator sees the consequences of his/her acts. No one likes to be called unwanted names, be mimicked with unbecoming language, being hurt physically, and or experience emotional damage. Pupils experiencing harassment should have a place to report grievances. A counselor, well versed in this area, should respond immediately to cases of harassment. The victim needs to be listened to carefully, and the perpetrator needs immediate counseling to modify and change behavior (See Ahmad, 2009).

Second, classroom rules need to assist in avoiding misbehavior of pupils. Misbehavior might well consist of bothering others to hinder learning, including bursts of anger and talking back to the teacher. Politeness toward others, involving both teachers and learners, is essential for any classroom to perform and function well. A community of learners emphasizes cooperation in developing an environment conducive to optimal pupil achievement in academic, social, and psychomotor skills (Ediger, 2009).

Third, pupils from different cultural groups must be accepted as individuals having much worth. No one desires to be excluded, but wishes to possess feelings of belonging. Recent immigrants from abroad should not be shunned, but rather integrated so they can reveal talents possessed through their native art, dress, music, language, dances, as well as foods eaten. Sharing of culture broadens educational horizons of classmates and enriches lives. There are diverse ways of meeting personal needs and human culture reveals these differences (See Sapon-Shevin, 2008). For example when eating with bedouins in the Middle East, the writer observed smacking of lips is good in order to show excellence in tasty foods eaten, but in the US, of course, it violates folkways and morays. …

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