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Learner-friendly classrooms

April 25, 2008

Hello again,

As I said last time I want to explore this topic further. The individual teacher’s own milieu, the classroom, is the...

... environment that the teacher can shape no matter what happens elsewhere in the school. Even small details can make learners more relaxed, better motivated and more confident.

The layout of the classroom needs consideration. How are the desks or tables arranged? Serried ranks will promote a formal, teacher-dominated atmosphere. A horseshoe shape, blocks of four, organising desks so there is a central space: these arrangements will enhance different types of learning, so the teacher needs to think carefully about the activities planned and what arrangements will best suit them.

Keep poster displays, boards and teaching aids, tidy and up to date. If you have material displayed, you want learners to use it, so keep it fresh, relevant and well organised. It can be helpful to dedicate a board, wall space or a table for students to bring in their own material for display.

In dealing with students, the teacher will wish to foster mutual respect: respect for the teacher from the students, for the students from the teacher and among the students. This means mutually agreed rules of behaviour but also an understanding of individual needs and problems. What if one or two students have transport or family problems that mean it is difficult for them to arrive on time? Supposing a student needs to take medicine or keep up blood sugar levels? Knowing about difficulties allows the teacher to make provision within the overall structure.

Learning itself should be framed in a positive approach that allows everyone to achieve something and to make real steps towards reaching their potential. The teacher can help maintain a positive outlook by setting clear targets and then summarizing achievements at the end of each lesson. Learners can keep diaries to log their milestones towards goals.

Why not share your ideas about creating a learner-friendly classroom?

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