Positive Learning Environment

Katrina’s Discussion Board Summary

Thread 1- “Creating and Maintaining that Positive Learning Environment.”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         How little things can make a big impact on the learning environment

·         The learning environment needs to be co-constructed-“It’s a two-way-street”

·         The power of relationship

·         How music can enhance or become a distraction in the learning environment

·         The role of training toys

·         The importance of the physical environment

·         Whole Brain-Power Teaching

·         The role of memory

·         Building community

·         How critical trust is in the learning environment

Thread 2- “Positive Learning Environments”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         How to establish and sustain a positive learning environment

·         Classroom etiquette

·         Curriculum: offering freedom and choices

·         The power and role of humor/laughter

·         Teaching learners how to learn

·         Thinking “outside of the box”

·         The importance of the physical environment

·         Fostering cooperation and acceptance

·         How critical trust is in the learning environment

·         Importance of knowing and sharing information about the services that are available

Thread 3- “Language in the Classroom and Positive Learning Environments”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         The challenges of students speaking their own language in class

·         The “English only” approach

Thread 4- “How to Ruin the Learning Environment”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         Teaching attire

·         Side-chatter: strategies to prevent and stop it

·         Texting and cell phone misuse

·         Creating and implementing classroom rules

·         Checking your understanding of situations before acting

·         The impact of delivering assignments with no explanation

·         Professional image

·         We are all human

·         The power and role of humor/laughter

·         The importance of celebration

·         How food and shared meals can enhance the learning environment

·         Relationships on and off campus. What is appropriate and what is not

·         Facebook and other social sites

Please see appendix 2 for the links posted in this thread

Thread 5- “Cell phones”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         Cell phones and their negative and positive impact in the learning environment

·         Banning cell phones and other technology

·         Controlling the use of technology in the classroom

·         Polices: Do you have one? Do they work?

·         Technology and the self-directed learner

·         Cell phones and other technology as positive learning tools

·         Who is responsible for providing technology in the learning environment?

Thread 6-“How to Kill Learners Online Experience”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         How a negative online experience can impact the learner

·         Suggestions on how to prevent a negative experience from occurring

·         Online Instructor Training

What did I get from this discussion

My contribution was related to trust and I find that it is a huge step towards a positive environment. From my point of view, it is the first step that needs to be taken. For this trust to be built, the other factors mentionned in the discussion can help such as classroom etiquette and offering freedom and choices within the curriculum. The former is a way to show the students that we are taking the course seriously and we are expecting respect to be a fundamental rule. The latter is a way to involve the learners in their learning process and respect their needs and expectations.

Teaching learners how to learn is a topic that is totally on my agenda at short term. I do believe that it is a big aspect of the learning environement: learners who know how to learn are mosre susceptible to get along and work towards the same direction all together. This takes me to another important topic that I contributed withtin the discussion: learning communities. Creating a community of learners is not always an easy task especially when the students are very diversified in terms of age, culture, backgroung, etc. It is nevertheless extremely important. I have a challenge right now in one of my courses mainly because the age range that goes from 17 to about 70 years old. Of course taking all the differences into account is important for a positive environment but not always an easy thing to do.

The importance of the physical environment and  the role that music can play in the classroom are two interesting topics that I haven’t consider enough until now; especially music. I want to take the time to think of how to integrate that in my courses (at small dose though).

I have never thought that cell phone could be used in a positive way by learners. I am glad to have learned because it may be very useful for me at the Literacy Center where I want students to feel as comfortable as they would be at home because learning has always been a negative experience for them. For example, I let one of them keep his music on while we are working together (now I realize that do make a place to music in a certain way). I find that allowing them to use their cell phone as a tool to learn is wonderful. It doesn’t mean that they are not some rules to define about it. Being trained as a cognitivist, my perspective as always been Clay Shirky’s one because of the problem of multi tasking.

I have more to say about Thinking “outside of the box” because of an article that I read to late to contribute to the forum discussion. In the part called Taking a chance, the author talks about what Brookfield refered to as “imposter” and here is what she says: “we may not ask questions or provide input that may be outside the what others may be thinkingbecause we do not want others to think that we slid through the system somehow and are notreally supposed to be there in that learning session”. (Creating the same Learning Environement)

A long list of references posted in the forum on this topic

Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 1: “Creating and Maintaining that Positive Learning Environment”

Creating a Positive Learning Environment


Effective Learning Environments


Creating a Community of Learners-League PDF


Learning Communities at Ohio University


An Effective Learning Environment is a Shared Responsibility


Training Toys

training toys.pdf

How to integrate music in the classroom


Does listening to Mozart really boost your brainpower?


Chapter 6: The Psychology of Learning


20 Tips for Creating a Safe Learning Environment


A Positive Classroom Climate


Whole Brain Teaching: The Basics


Power Teaching: 6th Grade Class, Classroom Management


Learning and Teaching: Bloom’s Taxonomy


Long and Short Term Memory


Three basic techniques in whole brain teaching


Power Teaching Rules: Pros and Cons


Whole Brain Teachers of America site


Building Community


Building Trust


How to repair a broken relationship with your students   http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2012/09/15/how-to-repair-a-broken-relationship-with-your-students/

Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 2-“Positive Learning Environments”

Positive Learning Environments

From the New Zealand Qualification Authority


The LBS Practitioner Training: The Learning Environment


Faculty Focus-Humor in the Classroom: 40 years of research


Chapter 10: Use of humor in the classroom


On Humor and Education-David Low


Memory, Learning and Emotions: the Hippocampus


How Laughing Leads to Learning


Humor in School


31 Signs you’ve been a Teacher Too Long


Modern Day Classroom with the Simpsons


American Psychological Association: How laughter leads to learning http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun06/learning.aspx

College Humor: Chalk-Stick Cartoons


The Reggio Emilia Approach


The Physical Learning Environment


Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children


Creating and Sustaining an Inclusive Classroom at the College Level


Building Trust


How to Repair a Broken Relationship with your Student


Quotes and References:

“A positive learning environment is one which encourages learners to achieve their potential, identifies and accommodates their individual needs and learning preferences, and deals sensitively with issues that arise within groups.”

From the New Zealand Qualification Authority


“Successful learning is, after all, about teaching learners how to learn, not about teaching content to learners” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009, p. 169).

Fenwick, T. & Parsons, J. (2009). The Art of Evaluation:  A Resource for Educators and Trainers. Toronto:  Thompson Educational Publishing Inc.

 “Go to a party, and meet a bunch of new people.  Which faces are you going to remember?  The woman who made you laugh, the man who made you feel embarrassed, and your new boss — the ones who had an emotional impact. (Psycheducation.org, 2003)”.

Psycheducation.org (On-line, 2003), Retrieved from Sept 18, 2014 http://www.psycheducation.org/emotion/hippocampus.htm

It is noted that by Haaensen “that students are always motivated, not perhaps motivated to learn something, but to do something.  …it is not possible to motivate students but teachers may be able to create a learning situation, which is stimulating and attractive.” She continues “Creating a positive learning environment enhances learning and the sessions should include exercises which give the students enough responsibility and freedom”

Haagensen, B 2007 (Dialogue Pedagogy and Motivation. A case study in Swedish)

Link to article provided in thread 3-“Language in the Classroom and Positive Learning Environments”

Should ESL Instructors Speak Other Languages in the Classroom?


Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 4-“How to Ruin the Learning Environment”

Professionalism When Teaching in the Classroom


Should Teachers be Funny?


Definition of “Tightrope”




Quotes and References:

“Model appropriate behavior. Students are very sensitive to teacher’s attitudes towards the school and the class in general; therefore, teachers must be extremely self-reflective, making certain that they are modeling positive behaviors for the class. Videotaping several class sessions may make teachers aware of any negative feelings they may be projecting towards their students”. 

Forming Positive Student-Teacher Relationships (on-line, no date avail), Retrieved on Sept 23, 2014,


Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 5- “Cell Phones”

Banning cell phones from the class helps students focus


How to use cell phones in the classroom


Board starts pilot to encourage use of handheld devices in class as teaching tools


Cell phones affect the college classroom negatively


Technology in the Classroom: A persistent distraction


How to use cell phones as learning tools


Some schools rethink ban on cell phones


Why Clay Shirky Banned Laptops, Tablets and Phones from his Classroom


Poll every where


Cell Phones in School: Personally Owned Devices


My Virtual Child


Quotes and References:

Faculty Focus (April 2013) states “Once the instructor has a clear understanding of the potential positive or negative impact of allowing cell phone use, he or she must clearly state policies in the syllabus. If the faculty member allows phone use, he or she then must clearly state how the cell phone can be used. If no cell phone use is allowed, this too must be clearly stated and students need to know the repercussions for violating the policy. For example, if my students use their cell phones during class, they must leave class for the rest of the day. If the violation occurs in the clinical area, they receive a formal warning. After the second warning, they are dismissed from the program”.  


Reference: Faculty Focus. Cell phones in the classroom. What is your policy?http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-classroom-management/cell-phones-in-the-classroom-whats-your-policy/

Link to site provided in thread 6- “How to Kill Learners Online Experience”

Get Ready for Online Teaching



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