How will you create a learning environment that is conducive to learning?
My main concern about creating my classroom environment is using my time wisely. I want my students to have something to do always. I would prefer not to have any weird middle time in which I could lose control of the class. My mentor teacher in my Ed. 100 class was a GREAT role model for me. She had a routine that the whole class knew and was comfortable with. She had everything planned out during the day, and never lost their attention for more than a few short minutes at a time during individual work times. During her teaching, she kept their attention by giving verbal warnings to those getting fidgety or talking out of turn, and if these behaviors continued, they would have to move on the class behavior chart.
I think that being organized also ties in closely with time management throughout the day. If you have everything planned out and all your materials ready to go, it will be much easier to get through what you want to during the day without wasting time setting things up or getting organized.
I also want my classroom to be "hands on, minds on." In other words, I want them to have concrete examples for a lot of what we are learning about rather than handing them a worksheet. I want to plan many interactive lessons (some authentic), beginning with stimulating questions to prime their thinking and followed by a hands on activity. I found this video, which I think embodies what I've just tried to describe:
I also want to have a good relationship with my students. I want them to love me without being their friend - the teacher should always be considered the authority figure. I want to have a respectful environment in which I take the time to get to know every student and what their strengths and weaknesses are. I think having a good relationship with mutual respect throughout the classroom will contribute greatly to learning.
This is my Elementary Education case study:
You engage your third grade students in cooperative learning activities at least twice a day, changing heterogeneous group members once every four weeks. You have agreed upon routine procedures that your classroom community uses within their small groups, including the roles and responsibilities of group members. Lately you have noticed that one small group always seems to have difficulty grasping material and completing their project in an acceptable manner. You observe this group carefully and find that Lisa seems to be the catalyst for their problems. She gets angry with others if she does not get the job she wants and refuses to do her part in contributing to the group’s learning. She constantly interrupts others in her group. She does not pay attention when her group prepares for class presentations.
After reading my CSEL case study, there are a few options of how a teacher could respond. I think the main objective for the teacher would be to take Lisa aside and ask her one-on-one why she is acting the way she is acting. You should ask whether her peers interrupt her and could even give a small demonstration of how it feels to be interrupted (being very careful NOT to be disrespectful or offensive). You should ask why she is not participating as much as everyone else and why she is getting so angry. If she is getting angry for a legitimate reason, you could even bring the group together (circling), and have them kind of hash this out by re-asking similar questions so the group could get to the bottom of their problems and move on to their projects. You should also remind Lisa that there are certain procedures and guidelines in the classroom, which she is not following very well. If the behavior continues, you might be able to give her the choice to either shape up and fly right, or go to see the principal. I think another option, if the group cannot hash out their problems, is to change the groups before the four-week time period. If Lisa's anger is sparked by something specifically, she and the teacher might be able to develop a cue for when she needs a moment to collect her thoughts alone and cool down for a few minutes (self-regulation). Lastly, the teacher should reflect on whether the lesson and group work is really using class time wisely. Having too much time could lead to issues because there is time to socialize rather than doing classwork.
Overall, a teacher must just make sure that they are creating a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. The teacher should set and enforce limits, while still maintaining the teacher-student relationship by respecting the student.