The learning environment is one of the primary factors that influence the overall success of students. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that it corresponds to the general criteria of assessment and, consequently, the needs of teachers and children (see Appendix). The best technique allowing for evaluating the learning environment in its current state in a single educational institution is observation. The class under consideration is the one in the Nalle elementary school (DCSRN Virtual School Tours, 2018). It presents a clear picture of possible advantages and drawbacks of specific details of the learning environment.
The first and most important assessment criterion is a physical layout, and it allows revealing the problems regarding visibility, accessibility, and distractibility. These issues usually result from the incorrect arrangement of desks and chairs in the classroom. As can be seen from the video, the physical layout is beneficial for the teacher to move around the desks and for the students coming to the board. Moreover, it maintains the attention of the latter since the teacher talks to everyone while walking.
Another vital consideration is the way people interact and participate during the class. In the case of this class, these criteria also reflect the overall efficiency of the studying process in terms of communication. Thus, all students participate by coming to the board, doing equations, and answering the teacher’s questions (DCSRN Virtual School Tours, 2018). This pattern of interaction between the participants allows concluding on a general balance of small groups and the whole group at the school.
The next criteria relate to the materials on the classroom walls, and they present a problem for the class under consideration. The principal issue is the lack of the daily schedule and learning goals in view (DCSRN Virtual School Tours, 2018). It can have a negative impact on students’ behavior since they do not possess an ability to concentrate on a task for an extended period of time at that age. This problem is complemented by the lack of posted shared values and beliefs intended to unite children in pursuing similar goals.
According to my personal experience, compliance with the criteria mentioned above is essential for an effective studying process. In the situation when regulations are addressed, the learning environment automatically improves without interference by the teacher. Moreover, these criteria serve as a ground for behavior management plans. They do not eliminate all the problems but allow dealing with emerging difficulties. As for my future classroom, it will correspond to the requirements of the physical layout. It should allow me to walk around in order to engage students in the process while ensuring visibility. The establishment of communication and interaction will be made through the use of various signals and signs. In turn, wall posters will have not only information on the subject but also daily schedules, learning goals, and rules of behavior.
Thus, a learning environment is important in all the aspects of the studying process, such as students’ behavior, participation, and interaction. The criteria allowing assessing the environment help to reveal problems and eliminate them in a timely manner, so that the quality of education remains at a high level. They primarily relate to various factors comprising physical layout, students’ feedback, and visual aids such as posters and schedules. Hence, the combination of the aspects reflected in the assessment criteria represents the vital areas that should be considered while establishing educational standards.
DCSRN Virtual School Tours. (2018). Nalle elementary school 5th grade classroom [Video]. YouTube.
- Learning Environment Observation Framework
- Grade Level Observed: 5
- Date of Observation: July 16, 2020
|Learning Environment Observation Criteria||Evaluation||Notes|
|Physical layout promotes visibility for teacher and students.||Yes||The position of desks does not prevent visibility.|
|Physical layout supports accessibility to allow for movement and immediate response.||Yes||The teacher has enough space to move between the desks.|
|Physical layout considers distractibility and helps maintain student’s attention.||Yes||The access to all desks for the teacher maintains attention.|
|The set-up of the classroom allows for whole group, small group, and individual instruction. Areas of the room are clearly labeled and/or designated for specific learning activities.||Yes||There are various posters on the walls allowing to define the activities.|
|Active participation and social interaction are integral parts of core instruction in this classroom. A balance of small group and whole group instruction is evident.||Yes||All students participate in the process. The balance is maintained through their interaction.|
|The learning environment indicates that content is valued and students are actively engaged (e.g., student work is displayed, interactive journals used, and discussions…) in purposeful work.||Yes||Student work is displayed.|
|The daily schedule is posted and followed. Learning goals or standards are posted and shared with students.||No||There are only posters with information on the subject.|
|Students feel safe in the classroom and safety is promoted.||Yes||No complaints.|
|Classroom rules are posted and reflect shared values and beliefs. Expectations for desired behavior are clear and the consequences for misbehavior are evident.||No||Only posters.|
|Classroom procedures and routines are evident.||Yes||The teacher follows the procedures.|