Research shows that the learning environment encompasses more than just the classroom that learning and teaching takes place. Many factors contribute to a learning environment, including the students, teachers, parents, school staff, policy makers, specialists, support staff, community members and the different learning spaces and resources available. This reflective journal will discuss some ways that teachers can set up the learning environment to maximise teaching and learning and some potential advantages and difficulties for me as a new teacher.
Education systems and services are integral to setting up a learning environment that maximises teaching and learning. I agree with Munro (2009) that being aware of what services, programs and support staff are available will be of great benefit to the learning environment, students and professional learning. I believe that adopting individual education plans, students learning profiles and modifying the curriculum can reduce the concern that some researches express that students are still being segregated from the classroom environment due to their “special learning needs”. These concerns are reduced by developing practices and adaptions that promote inclusion. I also believe that it allows for continual monitoring of students learning and progress and encourages critical reflection of teaching practices. Material and human resources that education systems provide encourage further professional development and practical ways to make adjustments and adaptions to classroom practices. I believe with the support of these systems inclusive education can be integrated seamlessly into my daily practice.
Carrington (2009) highlights the vital role of collaboration, communication and team work between home, school and community in creating an optimal teaching and learning environment. By creating collaborative relationships we can gain a greater depth of knowledge regarding student’s needs and abilities and implement new teaching practices to maximise teaching and learning. When relationships are built on trust, students and parents can play an active role within the learning environment and teachers and staff can work together to develop a learning environment that caters for and celebrates diversity. Consequently everyone feels a sense of belonging and empowerment because with relationships comes an understanding of the others needs, interests and concerns. Cramer and Stivers (2007, p. 63), argue that “collaboration is no longer an ingredient in school life but an essential feature”, however, not everyone may see it like that. Some staff and parents may not see the value in collaboration, there may not be an inclusive school culture and inclusive policy and practice may not be in place. However, I do believe aspects of these barriers can be overcome by sticking to my core values and beliefs and by becoming an advocate for the inclusive practices I believe in.
This week’s material on the...