1.1 Many things combine to create a classroom’s learning environment. This can be on an individual or environmental factor impacting positive or negative on learning, efficient or inefficient. Much of this depends on the plans you have in place to deal with situations that affect this environment. The list below looks at each of these things in order to help teachers better understand how to ensure that they are creating a positive learning environment for all students and eliminate negativity.
The first factor a teacher should set is his tone for the classroom setting. As a teacher you should be even-tempered, fair with your students, and have a rule enforcement that which will set a high standard for your classroom. Another example is, Are you humorous? Are you able to take a joke? Are you sarcastic? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? All of these and other personal characteristics will shine through in your classroom and affect the learning environment.
The second factor is when displaying of essays, poems, projects, and exams dominate the walls, there is student ownership of the room. When they look around and see their own writing and thinking, or posters they certainly experience a higher level of comfort because they see that they as students created them.
The first environmental factor here is the room layout. A ‘ Horseshoe’ or ‘U’ shape environment allows eye contact with the teacher and participate amongst the students and room layout should not just be set up by the number of people required, but by the event. The key factors is where is the centre of attention. Do people need to interact with each other. Do you want people in groups without having to move them around. The teacher is able to move easily with learners, the students are able to the demonstration. However, interaction and teamwork are much easier in a learning environment where students sit together.
Aspects of Aging on Learning
Adult learners have already been partly educated through life experiences. Adults have more experiences, different kinds of experiences, and that these experiences are organized differently. . According to Knowles (1980), 1 adults derive much of their self- identity from their past experiences. In that respect, they are much different from youths who tend to view themselves largely from external sources. Because of this factor, adult learners place a great deal of value on their experiences and if they cannot use those experiences, or, if those experiences are rejected, it may feel similar to being rejected as an individual. Related to this is the fear of failure that an adult learner may bring to the classroom, particularly if this is a new environment where they might fear further rejection from their peer group (Kennedy, 2003) 2 or their teacher.
1.2 Create a positive learning environment
Build self-esteem and self-efficacy
Students’ determination and belief that they can achieve their goals are important factors in their persistence in ongoing learning. Adult learners may have negative feelings about themselves due to failure experienced in their lives, due to dropping out of school, losing a job, or not being able to read or write well enough to complete a job application or read to their children . Ensure that students experience success at their first meeting so the first experience is a positive one. It may be appropriate to start with material that is slightly below the student’s level.
Be patient! Patience is an extremely important characteristic for any teacher or tutor of adults. Adults can often take a longer time in the learning process because of various learning barriers, but this does not mean they aren’t motivated to learn. Accept your student as he/she is and respect his/her values even if they differ from yours. Believe in your student and he/she will begin to believe in him/herself. Memorize the names of all your students within the first week of instruction. Use students’ names frequently. If your students are English learners, learn a few key phrases in their native languages to model that it is acceptable to struggle with pronunciation and language learning
A lesson plan is the teacher’s road map of what students need to learn and how it will be done effectively during the class time. Before you plan your lesson, you will first need to identify the learning objectives for the class meeting. Then, you can design appropriate learning activities and develop strategies to obtain feedback on student learning. A successful lesson plan addresses and integrates these three key components:
Objectives for student learning
Strategies to check student understanding
Specifying concrete for student learning will help you determine the kinds of teaching and learning activities you will use in class, while those activities will define how you will check whether the learning objectives have been met.
Principles of adult learning
The Manual of Learning Styles, by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford (1992). Provides an introduction to learning styles with advice on how to administer and interpret ‘The Learning Styles Questionnaire. Learning styles can be influenced by past experiences, education, work and the learning situation. It is important to recognise that they are not fixed but may be adapted according to context and what is being learned. Nevertheless most people still favour one style of learning. Knowles identified the six principles of adult learning outlined below. Adults are internally motivated and self-directed
Adults bring life experiences and knowledge to learning experiences
Adults are goal oriented
Adults are relevancy oriented
Adults are practical
Adult learners like to be respected
Part of being an effective educator involves understanding how adults learn best (Lieb,1991). Andragogy (adult learning) is a theory that holds a set of assumptions about how adults learn. Andragogy emphasises the value of the process of learning. It uses approaches to learning that are problem-based and collaborative rather than didactic, and also emphasises more equality between the teacher and learner. Andragogy as a study of adult learning originated in Europe in 1950’s and was then pioneered as a theory and model of adult learning from the 1970’s by Malcolm Knowles an American practitioner and theorist of adult education, who defined andragogy as “the art and science of helping adults learn” (Zmeyov 1998; Fidishun 2000).
Equipment/Materials:Whiteboard, Smart board, PowerPoint, Flip chart, Laptop, Marker pens, OHP, previously created resources, and hand outs
Appropriate assessment methods.
Defining Formative and Summative Assessments
The terms “formative” and “summative” do not have to be difficult, yet the definitions have become confusing in the past few years. This is especially true for formative assessment. In a balanced assessment system, both summative and formative assessments are an integral part of information gathering. Depend too much on one or the other and the reality of student achievement in your classroom becomes unclear.
Steps for preparing a lesson plan
Outlining learning objectives
The first step is to determine what I needed the students to learn and be able to do at the end of class. To specify my objectives for student learning I questioned myself.
Firstly what is the topic of the lesson?
Secondly what do I want them to understand and be able to do at the end of class? Thirdly what do I want them to take away from this particular lesson? Managing class time and accomplishing the more important learning objectives in case I am pressed for time. I considered these questions. What are the most important concepts, ideas, or skills I want students to be able to grasp and apply? Why are they important?
If I ran out of time, which ones could not be omitted?
And conversely, which ones could I skip if pressed for time?
The second step is to develop the introduction in order of importance, using specific activities so that students can gain the knowledge and apply what they have learned. There will be a diverse body of students with different academic and personal experience, they may be already familiar with the topic.
Presenting the lesson plan, to let my students know what they will be learning and doing in class I engaged with them and on track. Shared my lesson plan by writing a brief agenda on the board telling students explicitly what they will be learning and doing in class. Outlined on the board and gave out hand outs as their learning objectives for the class. Time can help students not only remember better but also follow the presentation and class activities. Visible agenda on the board will also help me and students stay on track.
The first thing you can do is ask a question to gauge students’ knowledge of the subject or possibly, their preconceived ideas. For Example: How many of you have heard of Meditation? What can you share or experienced. If there was enough time prior to presentation date I would have had a chance to gather background information from the students via electronic survey or asking them to write comments, this additional information allows one to deliver, shape the introduction, learning activities and familiarise with the topic and I can then have a sense of what to focus on. The introduction topic must be stimulating, interesting and encourage thinking. To engage students I used a variety of approaches.
Whilst introducing the topic mentally I began to check whether students know anything about the topic or have any preconceived ideas about it. What are some of the commonly held ideas or misconceptions about this topic meditation that students might be familiar with. What will I do to introduce the topic?
Planning the specific learning activities in the main body of the lesson. I prepared several different ways of explaining the material to catch the attention of more students and appeal to different learning styles, by giving out the hand outs, For Example: I talked about a personal incident in Meditation, an historical event, thought provoking dilemma, real world examples, a short music play, pictures to visualise, a statue to show posture in Mediation, a candle lit, quotes to probe questions.
I began mentally estimating how much time I will spend on each examples and activities. Built in time for extended explanation or discussion, but quickly moved on to different applications or problems. I thought of questions such as What will I do to illustrate the topic in a different way? How can I engage students in the topic? What are some relevant real life examples, analogies or situations that can help students gain knowledge on the topic? What will students need to do to help them understand the topic better?
Plan to check for understanding, check to see student understanding, how do I know the students are learning. Writing them down, paraphrasing them so that you can ask the question in a different style. Deciding on whether you want students to respond orally or writing.
As a conclusion I should go over the material covered in class by summarizing the main points of the lesson. This can be done in a number of ways. For Example by saying, Today we talked about….? as a student to summarize them or get them to write down on a piece of paper the main points covered.
Reflecting on my lesson plan
I found that after delivering my lesson plan it came across I could have been outstanding at delivering my plan if I had arranged most of my plan with a beginners, intermediate and advanced levels and the group did not get much time to do a group exercise. However this did not discourage me but instead it has encouraged me to reflect on what worked well and why, what I could have done differently, identifying successful and less successful class time.
I thought I shall use more resources such as students feedback, peer observation, viewing a videotape of my teaching and consultation with my tutor. As a reflection this assignment provided me with a general outline of my teaching goals learning objectives and means to accomplish them. It has become a reminder of what I want to do and how I want to do it. In my opinion a productive lesson is not one in which everything goes exactly as planned, but one in which both students and the teacher learn from each other.
Courtney from Study Moose
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