Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being. To me, this performance standards means creating an engaging learning environment for all learners by utilizing a carefully designed and welcoming classroom space, developing and teaching clear classroom policies and procedures, establishing high academic and behavior expectations, and nurturing the social-emotional and spiritual well being of my students while handling classroom interactions with care, respectful intervention, and sensitivity to the diverse needs of my students. Developing this environment and managing it takes a lot of work and a fair amount of practice, but by providing all of these aspects to students as they learn it helps to ensure their success. Fostering this learning environment begins with something as simple as welcoming each student at the door as they enter the classroom and providing them with an assigned seat so that they automatically feel like they belong to the classroom (Wong & Wong, 2009). Another important aspect to providing a safe and inclusive learning environment is going over classroom procedures so student know what to do in every situation, from what to do when you were absent to where to turn in bell work, and being sure to revisit and rehearse these procedures throughout the first weeks of school to ensure students are familiar enough with the routines and expectations of the classroom (Wong & Wong, 2009). Other than explaining and rehearsing these policies, it is important to provide students with a syllabus that includes written policies and procedures. Figure one provides a description of what should be included in a good syllabus. This was written for EDU 6130 as part of the group classroom management plan. A good syllabus not only includes policies and procedures, it provides an overview of the course, welcomes student into the classroom, outlines classroom rules and behavior expectations, and informs the student of needed classroom materials. Creating a safe and inclusive learning environment does not end with written and auditory policies, procedures and expectations. An important part to constructing this learning environment is handing classroom disruptions with genuine passion and respect for students (Fay & Funk, 1995). No classroom is free from disruptive behavior, so it is important to have clear expectations and consequences in place along with a variety interventions to stabilize behavior, and discuss it when it is convenient, while keeping the lesson going for the rest of the class (Fay & Funk, 1995; Curwin, 2014). Managing a classroom is so much more than discipline. It involves the entire layout of the classroom, student and teacher interactions, daily routines and procedures, intervention when necessary, and providing students with engaging, differentiated opportunities to learn and master content. All of these things are possible with planning, care, determination and passion for teaching and working with students.
Curwin, R. (2014). Classroom management: the intervention two step. Edutopia. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/classroom-management-intervention-two-step-richard-curwin
Fay, J. and Funk, D. (1995). Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom. Golden, CO: The Love and Logic Institute.
Wong, H. & Wong, R. (2009). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.