Welcome! ~ Sonia Hankova ~ Education/Art/Science ~ E-Mail: sonia.hankova@gmail.com ~ Phone: +61 425 703 860

Edu Blog

Creating a supportive and productive classroom environment conducive to learning 

Whilst teaching in the remote Indigenous community of Bulman, Northern Territory, I took the initiative to transform the Middle School 5-10 classroom to reflect a supportive and productive learning environment by arranging the tables in a collaborative way. This allowed the students to work more easily in teams and became more conducive to peer discussions as well as allowed me to better utilise and encourage peer support that is crucial in a multi-year learning environment with a broad spectrum of skills, abilities and attendance issues.

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When I first walked into the Middle Years classroom there was a single row of tables – students sitting silently like birds on a wire – I found it a little sad and depressing. There was evident lack of collaboration, peer discussions and peer support. To me, this was a perfect example of a teacher centred classroom. There was no way I was going to be able to successfully teach in this environment let alone have expectations that my students also learn and enjoy what they are doing. 

To this...

I was fortunate to have been left in charge for two weeks, whilst their teacher was away on a PD. I decided that since this was my classroom now (at least for the next two weeks) I would rearrange the learning environment to best suit my ideas of positive supportive and effective teaching and learning. The results were evident...the classroom felt friendlier and more student centred, it still allowed students to work independently but it made it easier for them to work in groups, engage in peer discussions and team work, help each other out as well as peer-assess.

In action...

This allowed me, the classroom teacher, to work on rotations with different peer groups, differentiate teaching to meet specific learning needs of my students by allocating students/groups to work together on specific tasks or differentiate content and difficulty level during activities - this was invaluable in a multiyear/multi-skill environment. The table configuration also provided more space and made it easier to share materials and resources. This picture is from a lesson on equivalent fractions, the kids are making a fraction wall.

Through my practice I have demonstrated links to PoLTs:

PoLT 1. The learning environment is supportive and productive, by: building positive relationships between students and student-teacher relationships; promoting a culture of respect through collaborative and cooperative work in a student centred learning environment; utilising strategies that promote students' self confidence – working solo as well as in teams, whilst ensuring students experience success thorough structured support, from both teacher and peers.

PoLT 2. The learning environment promotes independence, interdependence and self motivation, by: promoting communication, collaboration, team work as well as independent work.

PoLT 4. Students are challenged and supported to develop deep levels of thinking and application, by: promoting substantive classroom discussions; allowing students to work collaboratively during investigations and problem solving tasks, sharing ideas and promoting questioning.

Screenshot 2015-10-23 18.43.53

VIT creating a ppositive and productive learning environment

Click on the image above to view links to VIT standards related to transforming my classroom to reflect a positive and productive learning environment, in detail. Press Esc key to exit.


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