Positively thinking in a Positive Learning Environment

positive learning clip

Educators, in their role as guides and facilitators of student learning, can enhance students’ success in the classroom by incorporating a number of strategies that promote a positive environment in the classroom or clinical setting. Barkley (2010) in her book Student engagement techniques: A handbook for College faculty, proposes a number of strategies that influence the classroom environment to increase student engagement and active learning such as treating students with respect and sharing the power in the learning environment (and being seen as a partner in student learning). Through the past week, my colleagues and I have exploring ways to make the learning experience more positive. Humour is one strategy that really can alleviate some students’ stress by increasing endorphin production and making the classroom feel like a warm and welcoming place. However, if used inappropriately it can be distracting, abusive, and have a negative impact on learners. In my previous teaching experiences, I have found that having all students participate and contribute (at the start of the term) in setting ground rules for both group learning and classroom expectations creates a unified sense of community and clearly sets a positive tone. I also think that story telling is an exceptional strategy that positively impacts learners. I use it to connect didactic information dental hygiene students are learning to the real world experience of their future practice. Story telling by students and educators alike gives everyone a voice in making sense of community service learning experiences.It also provides another opportunity in the classroom to share power and contribute to collective learning. Onward and upward with respect, a charter of classroom generated ground rules, and story time!

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