What Makes an Effective Learning Environment?

I really enjoyed reading through both of these articles. The advice offered in each article is powerful and relevant to classroom instruction in any grade level or content area. The section that spoke to me most, however, was the section discussing the principles of relevant caring in the article from Bondy and Hambacher. I had never heard about the “hidden curriculum” concept before – the notion that students need to learn how to become part of the school culture in order to have success – and I think this is an extremely helpful concept to consider. Pairing this concept with their discussions about how to talk to disadvantaged students and show genuine care towards students who struggle provides an excellent framework for thinking about how the lives of students outside the classroom can affect one’s teaching.


I went out to find more articles about the hidden curriculum in education, and I found this interesting article on the Association for Middle-Level Education about how the hidden curriculum affects middle school students. The instructor, Tracie Cain, determined what parts of the hidden curriculum her students were and were not meeting by asking them directly to name three things they learned in school that were not related to math, science, history, English, or other content area instruction. Cain’s middle school students identified numerous non-academic skills they learned in middle school, such as making new friends, asking teachers for help, studying habits, and others. Cain reported that this exercise showed her that her students were ready for high school, and helped her identify any areas that needed improvement.