The article focuses on classroom environment and its characteristics. The environment in the class influences how teachers and students feel and behave. What is more, its qualities can have a lasting effect on our lives. The teacher’s challenge is to make the classroom environment functional, thoughtful, enjoyable and literate. However, there are things in real life that make it difficult for teacher to create specific classroom environment. Among these we can find, for instance, the amount of space, the availability of various devices and access to resources.
When we want to design the classroom environment we should take into account that it is both science and art. Even the arrangement of the class seats has its roots in history. It is quite challenging for the teacher to create a literate classroom environment, where students can learn about the changing world, and where they have a possibility to develop themselves. The most crucial is to link environment to purpose, because everything within the class, all the physical aspects, influences students’ behavior.
Moreover, we need to remember that the space has to be prepared for variety of activities, such as listening, speaking or playing games. In other words, the space needs to be flexible. Students have to be able to move easily from one activity to another. Besides, classroom environment should be full of literacy materials. There has to be sufficient amount of these materials for teacher and for students. The level of the materials should be appropriate for independent reading.
Organizing resources in a way that they capture students’ attentions is something difficult too. But if these resources are organized with a specific purpose, they motivate students to engage productively in the lesson. The classroom walls are another factors that influence the environment. It is said that walls act as texts which tell the story of what students already know and what they learn in the nearest future. Furthermore, there are a lot of elements that affect the instructional process, such as light, temperature or air quality.
Inappropriate use of those elements can negatively influence learning. However, some of the ambient elements may be out of teacher’s control. For instance, we need to remember that the exposure to the natural light should be maximized. In order to decrease the general acoustic level we can use some sound absorbing materials, like curtains or plants. Finally, it is good to vary the temperature according to students’ movement in different activities.