Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers

An Effective Learning Environment

This discussion is part of a collection:Building Classroom Culture

At the beginning of the school year there are alot of classroom procedures put into place that help to encourage an effective learning environment. Some of these strategies can take a considerable amount of time and practice, but are well worth it in the end. What are the best practices for building an effective learning environment starting on the first day of the school year?

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Using Virtual Learning Environments positions significant educational matters for Universities. Without speaking the matters of real learning, their use can multiple the errors of the past and leave the learner with an inactive, unengaging experience leading to surface learning. Since I am an academic writer at Dissertation help desk. Educators need to recognise that learning is a social procedure and that providing an effective learning environment which facilitates the active achievement of subject-specific and general expertise, and addresses the need to adopt a specific subject or professional culture, needs more than electronically delivered course notes and email discussion.

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Learning environment mentions to the varied physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn. Since students may learn in a wide variety of settings, such as outside-of-school locations and outdoor atmospheres, the term is often used as a more accurate or preferred alternative to classroom, which has more limited and traditional connotations—a room with rows of desks and a chalkboard, for example, and I prefer that environment for my students, who are looking for from me and educators may also claim that learning environments have both a direct and indirect influence on student learning, including their engagement in what is being taught, their motivation to learn, and their sense of well-being, belonging, and personal safety.

[This post has been modified by mathadmin]

To build an effective learning environment you should do the following things :-
1. Maintain good relationship with your classmates
2. Communication with your teachers & classmates helps you to become comfortable.
3. Trust between you, your classmates & teachers is also important.
When your environment is good, then only you will be able take help in studying, cultural activities,etc from your teachers & classmates.

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No matter what the grade level, I think it is important to allow "wait time" for students to think thru their work. In my room I spend time in the beginning of the year with using wait time and to teach students what "wait" time means. Once I give a math problem to solve, say a simple algorithm, I give my students time to think it thru. Then I ask them to give their answer and to tell me the math process on how they solved their problem. The wait time is quite time for everyone to be given an opportunity to think thru their answer. Some students do need more time than others, but allowing the time to process their work is critical. I found that as I work with teachers that this strategy really needs to be taught. Wait time is a purposeful part of completing a math problem.

Yes, I've seen many teachers too anxious to get to the answer. My fav example of patience is when students first start to use variables. I use the Fibonacci sequence, and to generalize, I ask for letters for the first two entries. They often say a and b. Then I ask them how to express the third entry. Using 'c' would start an endless list of variables. I will wait an eternity of maybe 5 minutes until someone meekly offers (a +b), but it makes one person a pioneer and elicits strong participation from others.

I am interested in reading peoples' ideas about the role of the Mathematical Practices in this discussion on effective (mathematics) learning environments.

Me too! I definitely think that the Math Practices add a higher level of thinking to the content knowledge involved in the other math standards. I think, Practice Standard 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, deepens the students understanding of the content. For example, in teaching about Fair and Unfair games with Probability, students will need to defend their answers and critique the answers of their peers.

My hope for all my students (and I tell them so) is that they leave school at the end of the day smarter than they were when they arrived. I think it's important to establish early the idea that real learning takes hard work, that talent/ability alone doesn't lead to accomplishment. Mistakes are not only acceptable, but seen as opportunities to learn and grow.

Jen Saul's song, the title of this post, gives the right message. (Use her name as a search term to see several videos of her class in action.) Our society equates being smart with not having to work hard. If I have to struggle with something, I must not be smart, so I choose not to take risks for fear of being exposed. I strive to dispel this myth at every opportunity. Children's self-esteem is developed when they struggle with something challenging and succeed.

What strategies do others have for convincing children that learning requires effort and focus, and that the rewards are well worth it?

I've taught mostly older students, but I can say that problems that lead to hasty suppositions (pattern breakers) or those that have multiple solutions, can bring more contributors into the discussion. The main idea is that anyone can have an idea worth considering. I often name those ideas after the students who thought of them first, as in "Jen's theorem," or "Matt's method." I'm sure that Sir Isaac or Rene des C. will excuse this type of proprietary infringement.

I have seen in my teaching that the cooperative setting supports well the concept of a community of learners solving problems. Unfortunately, I have also observed that nothing shuts down the learning, stifles the thinking, and ruins the community faster than a put down. As a young teacher I ignored some of these slurs and now I know better. There are lots of good management ideas, but in my mind, just one that is essential – zero tolerance for put downs.

One of the teachers I worked with before used to have slogans posted all over her classroom. One of my favorites was "It's okay to be mad, but it is never okay to be mean." I've found that as a teacher you can find a student whom this applies to almost everyday, building those relationships and understanding the students, as well as them knowing their boundaries, creates a safe and productive learning environment.