The Different Aspects Of The Learning Environment

865 words - 4 pages

2A. The context for teaching and learning incorporates and refers to the following learning environments: physical, social, personal, and content-specific. The physical contexts for teaching and learning may include things like desk arrangements, classroom temperature, room lighting, classroom design and capacity, time of day, and so on (Shulman, 2004). Palmer (1998) says, “good teaching is always essentially communal [and] that teaching cannot be reduced to technique” (pg. 115). He then goes on to say “engaging students in the community of truth does not require that we put the chairs in a circle and have a conversation. A sense of connected can also be generated—in classes large and small—through lectures, lab exercises, fieldwork, service learning, electronic media, and many other pedagogies, traditional and experimental” (pg. 115). All of this can be detrimental to the learning that is taking place in the lives of students; for example, if a classroom is overcrowded and the design of it poorly fits all students or if it is too hot or too cold. Students may think more about their comfort in the classroom space than the information being covered, which can lead to disengagement in the subject matter.
The social contexts of teaching and learning may include interactions between students and teachers, students and their classmates, and others in the learning environment (presenters, guest lecturers, etc.). An example of a teacher who demonstrated social context was Jaime Escalante when he was trying to get his students to comprehend the subject matter he was teaching; unfortunately, his students did not comprehend the subject matter, instead Escalante used his example that he was using and related it back to his students’ lives by incorporating their Mayan culture as being the creators of mathematics (Shulman, 2004; Class Discussion). Additionally, Ladson-Billings (2006) says that being “aware of the social context is not an excuse for neglecting the classroom tasks associated with helping student to learn literacy, numeracy, scientific, and social skills” (pg. 30-31). This is a reminder of what is occurring in teaching and learning in the larger social context.
Personal contexts of teaching and learning incorporate what is brought to the table by both the instructor and the students, which may include predispositions, experiences, and perspectives. Rose (1989), mentions that he grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of violence (pg. 17) and was not much of a shining star in school (pg. 34), so he clearly understood what the students, who came from a similar background, were going through when he began teaching. During the time that Rose worked with Veterans, he knew right off...

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