With all the challenges educators face, it can be easy to get lost in the frustrations and road blocks. While those barriers are very real and deserve attention, our hopes and aspirations also deserve consideration. Have you pictured your ideal learning environment lately? I have. And it’s reinvigorating me.
My ideal learning environment is one where students:
- Guide their own learning by asking questions and following curiosities.
- Explore ideas that pique their interest, thereby formulating their own units of study.
- Work collaboratively with others both inside and outside of the classroom in an effort to pursue those interests.
- Are encouraged to move freely while still understanding the importance of coming back together and being respectful to others.
- Trust their own instincts and grow into responsible “decision-making” and “self-reliant” learners (Saxena, 2013).
- Have access to the world, in whatever form that makes sense in that time and place.
- Learn from one another.
My ideal learning environment is one where teachers:
- Feel comfortable in stepping down from the stage and allow students to see that they don’t know everything, but they are interested in learning alongside their students.
- Have ample opportunities for asking questions and taking risks while feeling supported and trusted.
- Foster cross-curricular experiences to provide rich, well-rounded chances for learning.
- Embrace the individual learning styles of each student.
- Appreciate the students’ unique strengths and ideas and find ways to cultivate those individualities.
- Can move fluidly between the roles of teacher and student.
Most importantly, my ideal learning environment is one where teachers and students respect each other. A community in which students still hold their teachers in high regard and value the guidance they provide. But also, a place where teachers respect their students, while encouraging them to share their gifts and speak with confidence. Finally, my ideal environment is one where students cooperate, collaborate and respect one another (Saxena, 2013).
What does your ideal learning environment look like?
Saxena, S. (2013, December 20). Top 10 characteristics of a 21st century classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://edtechreview.in/news/862-top-10-characteristics-of-a-21st-century-classroom