Inspired by the philosophy presented by Love and Logic, I work towards creating a learning environment wherein students can explore their personal agency and feel empowered, respected, and encouraged. For me the goal is not just to create an environment that students feel comfortable learning in, but to cultivate a love of learning and an understanding of what it means to live in community with others that students will develop for the rest of their lives. By giving students personal responsibility for monitoring and reflecting on their behavior and academic achievement, teachers instill in students a confidence and deeper understanding of how their behavior affects others and themselves. Respect for self and others is so key to living a successful and contented life.
To create this kind of learning environment, I use a lot of team, or group work, I have classroom management systems in place that provide clear guidelines for expectations and ways for students to evaluate their own behavior in community, and I myself maintain a calm and open demeanor so that students feel comfortable speaking to me about issues they may have. I like the idea of class meetings as well as a place where everyone can be heard. Teaching students how to listen and speak respectfully is very important.
One of the major things I will begin doing in the future to cultivate a positive learning environment is greeting each student personally at the door. It seems so simple, yet I can see how it could go a long way to helping students to feel respected, encouraged, and personally valued.