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Under the Teaching Practice standard, the Ontario College of Teachers stress on the key element of teaching and the changing context of the learning environment. It states that

Members of the Ontario College of Teachers

-establish a safe and supportive learning environment.

Learning environment is an important aspect of successful learning. The students must feel comfortable in the classroom and the teacher must ensure a non-threatening environment for the students. During our course, I read texts on how to create a suitable environment for learning. Based on the knowledge I gathered and the experience I have, I created a diagramatic representation of my classroom.

The first link will take you to the picture of how my classroom would look and the second link will take you to the picture of my classroom walls. The pictures are followed by a description in words.

classroom set up

classroom wall set up

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The Classroom is set up as shown in the picture.

1) Students desks: I prefer a seating arrangement where students can do group work but at the same time do not have to move too much during instructional time to see the white board. With more than 20 students in a class, I would have to accommodate the desks accordingly. With less number of students a horse shoe shaped arrangement of desks and chairs could be done, again all students must face the white board. This way the students do not move their chairs to see the board and their work is not disrupted.

2) Teacher's working area may be at the back at a suitable position from where the teacher can get a view of the whole class. It must be remembered that the teacher helps the students in learning and is a part of the class and not the controlling person. Therefore I personally do not like the idea of having the teacher’s desk at the front as an authority. Teacher’s resources and supplies are behind his/her working area, easy to reach.

3) Rug area (student-teachers meeting area) has a chart stand and a stool for the teacher so that he/she sits higher to show books (everyone is able to see) or any other demonstration.

4) Science Centre: The Science display table can be placed at a suitable place (more near the carpet area for demonstration of a science topic) depending on the availability of space. Otherwise near the sink area is good as science experiments may need water (like dissolving sugar etc.)

5) The technology centre has computers and above the area on a wall mount, there is a TV with VCR connection etc.

6) Art supplies are also kept near the sink like paints etc.

7) The walls in front of the door (the main wall) have students' work displayed like Language, Math and Students' achievements. All the boards are beautifully decorated.

Below the white board, relevant posters are posted. The back wall has some instructional posters, students Art work; French Work, and the word wall. The walls have a "keep it up" board displaying children’s best work. Over the sink, on the space available on walls are displayed the TRIBES rules. The storage cupboard doors have two Sports Posters. The students’ supplies are kept in a stack boxes in the supplies shelf with proper labelling. Some mobiles with inspirational messages or displays hang from the ceiling. The Door welcomes everyone and door is decorated with relevant materials on different occasions. .

8) The classroom rules are posted on the front wall (next to white board). On one of the sides of the front wall is the classroom helpers list so that it’s easy to monitor the duties of the students.

9) Two permanent learning centres are set up in the class (reading/listening) and Science centre. One more centre has a table and two chairs which the students may use as different centres like Math or Writing etc. In any case the students have their learning centre things organized in their learning centre bins. The reading or listening centre may have a couch or cushions on a small rug. An idea of a tent goes well too but that I would apply for grade 4. If I don’t have enough space in my classroom, I will have a table at the reading centre spot and a comfortable chair with it which can be converted into a reading/writing centre. If needed it could be converted in to a math centre too. But I would like to have a reading permanent centre and a science permanent centre in my classroom with another separate centre with a table to do Art, writing or math.

 

10) The book shelves are easy to reach. The library or the children’s' reading books shelf is closer to the reading centre. The reading/listening centre is near the plug point.

11) I like to have some plants (students take care of the plant) or a pet (may be a fish tank) in the class. This way students learn to be compassionate and this helps building a relationship/belongingness with their classroom.

12) The classroom should be set up in a way that the students feel that they are a part of the class room. Students work should be displayed more and more and students should be asked to help decorating/organizing/cleaning the classroom.

 

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Manoshi Chatterjee