3 semester hours of graduate credit from University of Massachusetts Global.
For all students to be engaged and ready to learn, it is essential that each teacher create within their classroom a positive learning environment. Research has identified 5 factors that must be in place for a positive learning environment to exist. The first is an environment where the student feels safe from both physical and emotional harm and that they can do their work free of fear. The second is a sense of being “valued” for who they are and the contributions they can make in the classroom. This provides the student with a feeling of belonging and being part of something bigger than themselves. The third factor is being challenged at an appropriate level. The accomplishment of tasks provides the student with a sense of success and builds self-esteem and well as a willingness to attempt new challenges and learning. The fourth factor is one where there exists for the student clear and consistent expectations related to both the quality of their work and their behavior. That student’s know exactly what to do, how it is to be done and parameters of acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the classroom. The final factor is that the student believes the work they are doing to relevant to their life. That the knowledge and skills they are acquiring will be needed for them to succeed. In this class, participants will be required evaluate their own classroom related to each of the 5 factors. They will collect information from their students through the use of surveys, parent questionnaires and examples of student work. Having established a baseline related to each of the 5 factors, they will be given examples of what other educators have done to address each factor. Based upon the identified needs of their student population, they will develop and implement specific strategies, policies and actions in their classroom related to each factor. Finally they will collect new data to determine the effectiveness of their strategies, policies and actions. Based upon the effectiveness of each strategy, policy and action, they will identify which of them they will continue to use, which they will alter and which they will discard. Participants will come to understand how not only to create a positive learning environment for their students, but how to maintain that environment throughout the school year.
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