Lesson Plan Examples For Common Core State Standards
Do Welcoming Classrooms = Better Students?
By Concordia Online Staff
It’s easy to accept the idea that children who attend clean, well-maintained schools have an easier time succeeding than those who don’t. But do the environments teachers create in their classrooms have an impact on their students’ ability to learn?
The research says they can. According an article by Dr. Sheryl Reinisch, Director of Early Childhood Education Programs at Concordia University, studies indicate that high-quality classroom environments “help children feel safe, secure, and valued. As a result, self-esteem increases and students are motivated to engage in the learning process.”
The Living Room Effect: “When I’m Relaxed I’m More Ready to Learn”
Dr. Reinisch cites a study of 25 first graders whose classroom was revamped over a period of four months to include appealing elements such as comfortable reading spaces, fish, plants, and displays of student artwork. The children’s reactions were recorded through interviews, student journals and observations.
The first graders expressed ownership and pride at their artwork being included in the classroom decor, and their journals, comments and drawings expressed appreciation for the aesthetic additions to their environment.
Students in the study said that being comfortable helped them feel at home in their classroom, which in turn helped them learn. Quotes included:
“I feel relaxed. When I’m relaxed I’m more ready to learn.”
“It’s like a little living room when the plants are here.”
“Up here [in the reading loft] makes me learn because I read and it’s comfortable reading here.”
How Important is a Comfortable Classroom?
Of the elements teachers might consider adding to their classrooms, which ones are the most important to student success? Reinisch notes another study in which 775 students identified “comfort” as “most necessary” in their classroom. The students, who ranged from fourth to eighth grade, also correlated the following elements to a good learning environment:
- A clean classroom
- Artwork and wall decorations
- A classroom pet
The evidence appears to show that small changes can make a big difference in classroom environments. Teachers who include cleanup time in their classroom management or create something as simple as a space to display students’ art can help students feel empowered to learn.< show all "Education News" articles