How the Environment plays a role in Learning
How the Environment plays a role in Learning
Learning is a process which touches on almost every aspect of human life. Surprisingly, it is through learning that the experiences of the past are passed on to the younger generation by parents as well as educators. It is impossible to get knowledge without learning. Apart from knowledge, learning equips people with skills and abilities that enable them to deal perfectly with the complexities of life. Through learning for instance, individuals get to know about the rules that enable them to interact in their social lives. Learning is however not unique.
It networks with an individual’s social life and the environment (Custom Essay, 2009). Richlin in his book, Blue print for learning: constructing collage courses to facilitate, access and document learning, acknowledges that “Learning does not occur in a vacuum. ” It cannot occur in isolation either and is dependent on various factors such as the environment (Richlin, 2006). The environment is the substance upon which learning is laid upon. It forms the backbone of learning. Environment thus plays a significant role as far as the learning process is concerned.
The environment can affect the learning process either positively or negatively. This research paper seeks to look at various environmental factors and the roles they play in the learning process. The Natural Environment Though in the current world there is a high rise of technology and people can change the environment to suit their needs, the impact of natural environment on learning is still so strong and cannot be ignored.
For example, people who were brought up in rural areas are very different from those in urban area. This is in respect to what each has learned. Those from the remote areas are in contact with nature itself. They learn so much from nature since their dwelling place is so natural and has not been contaminated by human activities. On the other hand, a city dweller has no natural environment access and barely learns much from it. He or she is even less concerned with what is happening in the natural environment. Lessons on nature become challenging to city dwellers but remote dwellers learn with ease (Custom Essay, 2009).
It is in the natural environment that historical, scientific, and geographical materials for learning are found in plenty. These natural features are fun to learn when individuals know what they are learning about. For instance, those located near the ocean or sea will have fun learning about the marine ecosystem. Likewise those in mountainous regions will enjoy a geography lesson on types of mountains. Learning in these natural environments is so real, so natural, and so meaningful and students tend to perform better than those who learn in the theoretical way in the cities (Smith, 2010).
Social Environment Many people do not know that social environment plays a fundamental role in the process of learning. Humans are social beings and they can neither live nor learn in an isolated situation. Ones a child is born, the learning process begins from the social environment. By crying, the child knows that it will be attended to by the society around it. The first people to get in touch with an individual from an early age are from the family members.
The family at this level is the social environment for the child. Basic knowledge is learned from the parents and it becomes the foundation of an individual’s future life. The social environment then expands as the individual advances in age. He or she can learn from friends, peers, and influential adults (Custom Essay, 2009). However, different people that an individual comes into contact with, impact differently on his or her learning process. At the early stage of a person’s life, parents shape the views, beliefs and equip the person with basic knowledge, skills and the abilities.
The family can affect the child negatively or positively. For instance, statistics reveal that children under family abuse score less in exams than the ones who have been raised normally free from abuse. Abused children feel useless and they develop a negative self image. They undermine their learning ability and hence perform poorly in the learning process. In contrast, a family can positively motivate a child by encouraging them to believe they can. Such children build confidence in themselves that enable them to face challenges at home and in school. This positively influences their learning.
The time the parents spend with their children also influences learning. Very committed parents like those in the military have little time for their children and therefore children do not get all the knowledge that they require. Other parents have a high priority for discipline and they will raise-up disciplined children. High level discipline augers well with learning (Smith, 2010). At the adolescent stage, peers mean everything to an individual’s life. An individual develops personality through the interaction with his or her peers (Custom Essay, 2009). Learning can be impaired if the teen chooses a bad social grouping.
Anti-social behaviors like drug and substance abuse will no doubt impair a person’s learning process. Drug and substance abuse interferes with the activity of the mind in processing information. There is also the interference with the normal functioning of the body. In addition, some people spend much of their time in non-constructive activities like gambling. They therefore do not concentrate in their classroom activities leading to poor performance (Smith, 2010). Despite the fact that most of a person’s personality has already been shaped by the time they reach adulthood, adults still learn even in old age.
The social environment affects the learning process of an adult (Custom Essay, 2009). The Physical Environment The physical environment also affects the learning process. To start with, the structures in which people, particularly students, spend most of their days will determine the quality of learning. Research has shown that students in shabby schools rarely perform well as compared to those in decent schools. Shabby structures are not attractive to the learners and they do not feel motivated to learn either.
They might also be missing some structures such as windows which will pose a danger to learning especially in times of hurricanes and rains. A good physical environment is attractive and cultivates positive attitudes in both learners and teachers. Schools or learning environments should be friendly if at all the desirable learning is going to take place. There should be attractive spaces to give students comfort the way they would in a cafe. Learning is therefore improved with the physical environment improvement. In the classrooms, the arrangement of desks and spacing all count to the learning process.
Studies have revealed that students who are less attentive and barely successful are mostly affected by arrangement of desks. Their queer behaviors will tend to increase when they are in rows rather than around tables. To make sure that all students are monitored, clustering of students should be avoided. This ensures that there is enough space for every student and there is no opportunity for the misconduct of students. The students therefore will be serious and of course learn more in spacious classes (Victorian Institute of Teaching, nd).
Other physical aspects that determine the process of learning include climate, noise, and color. Extreme temperatures negatively affect the quality of learning (Victorian Institute of Teaching, nd). Hurricanes will also have their part to play. Many other disastrous weather conditions affect learning negatively. The student will spend more time fighting with the disasters than in their studies. Poor weather reduces the level of concentration (Smith, 2010). Noise disrupts the whole process of teaching and learning. Too much noise leads to the impairment of the cognitive function.
Most reading and studying problems are associated with noise. Furthermore it is difficult for a student to hear what the teacher is saying if there is a lot of noise in the environment. Likewise color affects the efficiency and motivation in learning. Choice of colors depends primarily on the learners’ age and gender. Brighter colors go well with young children and adolescents will be attracted by subdued colors. Males feel at peace with brighter colors but females would like softer colors. Careful considerations should therefore be made when furnishing classrooms to avoid negative influences (Victorian Institute of Teaching, nd).
The Cultural Environment Individuals are from different cultural backgrounds. The styles of learning differ from one culture to another. In the developing worlds like Asia and Africa, teachers, mentors and parents insist on the observation of strict discipline in the process of teaching and learning. Children are not given time to air their views. In contrast, in developed countries like US, learning is less controlled and children are allowed to actively participate in learning and teaching processes.
This may go a long way to motivating students for better performance. Restrictions on the other hand will make students hate the whole process of learning and teaching (Smith, 2010). The learning process is also affected by the nature of the cultural environment. Some cultures may have a special respect when it comes to knowledge acquisition. People who are learned are greatly respected. These people become mentors to the learner and boost their morale. For example, if a child grows up admiring a certain engineer, chances are that he or she will learn more to become that engineer.
Additionally, in the developed countries almost everyone is educated. They also have better resources such as equipped libraries and internet facilities. Their children therefore receive information they require in learning from diverse areas. The more the resources, the more simplified the learning process will be. On the other hand, inadequate resources will always pose a threat to the learning process. In addition, poor countries have a high number of uneducated people and thus do not act as motivators to learning (Smith, 2010). Some cultures also may influence learning by holding a special position in a particular area of study.
For along time, there have been talks on mathematics, sciences and languages. Certain cultural backgrounds may fail to put weight on the study of language such as in Myanmar. Some tribes here have no records of their written language. Students from such localities are restricted by their cultural environment to learn the language. They will only have few language experiences. Other cultures will put more emphasis on subjects like mathematics. Learning mathematics for students from these environments will not be a difficult task. The cultural environment therefore dictates what is to be learnt and to what extent (Catherine, 2010).
Classroom Setting There are different classroom settings all of which affect the process of learning. Learners tend to perceive various settings differently. For instance, in comparing the traditional classroom teaching with online learning, traditional though passed by time, provides the best setting. Online learning does not monitor the learner’s move. Learning therefore is at the mercy of the learner’s self discipline.
More so, there is no reinforcement offered by online learning and there is no educator-recipient direct interaction. In traditional classroom environment, the learner’s moves are closely monitored, there is teacher-student contact and therefore reinforcement is guaranteed. The teacher is in a position to learn the psychological weakness of a student. Once the problem is known, the student can be helped out. Students of the traditional setting will always perform better academically than online students. The learning process is therefore affected by the kind of setting selected (Smith, 2010).
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 23 September 2016
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