Elements of a Positive Learning Environment
This post provides specific instructional strategies for motivating and engaging trainees, conducting exciting lessons, and boosting trainees' self-confidence and self-esteem. An effective learning environment within the JLBC Cadet Program is achieved by applying principles related to JLBC cadet development and how the brain learns best. Experience, interaction, stimulation of the senses, and fun are critical factors in building this learning environment.
A PHYSICALLY & EMOTIONALLY SAFE ENVIRONMENT
The priority when considering the physical environment is safety.
To maximize learning, instructors must create a dynamic environment of relaxed alertness that allows the cadets to risk saying a wrong answer or solving a problem incorrectly. This is an emotionally safe learning environment. Factors to consider:
Lighting - lighting affects mood. Having more light and natural light are both desirable to maximize learning.
Ventilation - be conscious of temperature and air quality. More excellent areas with air movement are best.
Noise - Loud or distracting noises can be obstacles to learning. JLBC Cadet's Noise should be kept to a minimum (i.e., close the door)
Visuals - try for a colorful atmosphere! Warm colors are exciting; cool colors are relaxing. Put beautiful and inspiring images on the walls.
Instructor Positioning: The screen or flipchart should be placed in the center of the form of the room. Instructors should position themselves so that they are to the trainees` left of the screen or visual aids. Trainees will read material pre-seated from left to right. You stand in a natural progression of eye travel by setting yourself on the trainees' left. Comments made by the instructor will draw the trainees` attention left, and when finished, the trainees; eyes will return to the presented material on the right.
Seating - should be flexible to encourage movement during activities.
Action—the brain needs oxygen to function, and exercise promotes blood circulation to all body parts. Start your class with a minute of stretching and deep breathing. Also, try to encourage drinking water and fruit juices.
Lesson Materials: Organization of materials is critical, as a smooth-running, well-organized lesson allows trainees to follow and understand the material being presented. A disorganized task distracts them, makes them lose focus, and negatively affects their learning. Ensure your lesson plan, handouts, and other materials are organized and checked for accuracy before your lesson begins. Your orientation board should also be prepared before class.
Lead with your positive attitude - trainees may have complications and negativity daily and will appreciate a positive environment with a positive and enthusiastic JLBC instructor.