My Ideal Educational Environment
What makes an educational or learning environment ideal? What should be the features of an ideal educational or learning environment? To start with, the “Environment” is defined by the Webster dictionary as “the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu” or “the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population” or “an indoor or outdoor setting characterized by the presence of environmental art that is itself designed to be site-specific” (Webster, 2015). An environment is said to be ideal if it has a standard of perfection or excellence; is regarded as perfect of its kind; is perceived as advantageous; excellent, or best; or is a conception of something in its perfection (Webster, 2015).
Using an adaptation from these definitions, I will define my ideal educational environment as an aggregate of items, things, conditions, social forces, cultural forces, and influences that will create a standard of perfection and excellence for my students’ learning process. I consider my ideal educational environment as one that meets my students’ needs, their personality, and learning styles. It will intellectually stimulate and motivate my students to learn, and should reflect their diverse culture, interest, abilities and special abilities. My ideal educational environment should enable the development of their social skills, intellectual abilities and spirituality; and create an ambience of peace, strength, confidence, and acceptance of their diverse individuality. It will be an environment in which my students show respect for their peers and teachers, and also willingly and readily collaborate and cooperate with each other. It will be one in which the teacher is a knowledgeable and caring professional who is ready to adapt teaching to the needs of the students, with a flexibility and willingness to change with changing students’ needs. My ideal educational environment is one in which the teacher uses authentic assessment tool to measure students’ learning. It will be an environment that makes learning curriculum one that prepares the students for life after school (Ryshke, 2013; USC, 2011).
To this end, the concepts that I hold of importance to my teaching career are:
- Determining and working in line with the purpose of education
- Personal philosophy of teaching and learning
- Teacher professionalism
Determining and working in line with the purpose of education
As a future teacher, creating an ideal environment is dependent on being able to decipher what the purpose and aims of education are. Pertinent questions to ask myself are “what is worth learning for my students?” and “how can I make learning successful for my students?”
What is worth learning?
My perception of an ideal environment in one in which students learn and develop skills that are useful to them in the future. Aside the curriculum content of reading, writing, math, arts, and sciences, skills such as critical thinking, communications, team building, presentation and virtues such as honesty, empathy, respect, trustworthiness, hard work, are all worth learning in a school environment. Ned Nodding emphasized these in his article “what does it mean to educate the whole child?” (Noddings, 2005)
How can learning be successful?
An ideal environment should be one that promotes successful learning. As a future teacher, it will be my responsibility to ensure that all students are motivated to learn, they are encouraged to take responsibilities for what they learn, and they are challenged to do their best through challenging but engaging classwork, group projects and discussions. I will also make sure that on-time feedback on performance on class work and assessments are given with advice on required improvement. I will be willing and ready to help with extra tutoring where need to make learning interesting and successful for me and y students.
Personal philosophy of teaching and learning
As a future teacher, having a personal philosophy of education is the bedrock to a successful teaching and learning process. It creates a roadmap for classroom and student management, lesson preparation and presentation and ensuring that students get the best out of the teaching-learning process. For me, the issues to consider are my student mix- cultural, language, age and racial mix, their learning styles, intelligence level, learning ability, motivation to learn and success of learning process. The questions I will ask myself are “will I need to differentiate learning for my students and to what extent?” and “how to I measure my students’ learning success?”
An ideal learning environment promotes differentiated learning to meet the need of the diverse student needs. It is one that should be inclusive yet with tools that will aid learning for the entire students, considering their learning styles, attention span, and level of intelligence without evidence of discrimination. I will make sure that study materials are prepared to fit student needs as much as possible (Woolfolk, 2015). An example of this that I have witnessed is with my 6th grader who is in the Pre-AP class. From the class math website, there are different homework for students in PAP class and normal class. The concepts are same but with different level of difficulty and grading. I believe this can be adapted for any grade level class with diverse student population and is method I am willing to adopt.
Learning assessment and feedback
An ideal learning environment is one that frequently assesses the students’ level of understanding of concepts taught. In my opinion, assessment does not have to be graded at all times but can be administered to measure how well students understand what they are taught and can apply it without help during studies and to normal life. I plan to give short in-class and take-home assessments to help my students better understand as they learn. My ideal learning environment will also encourage giving and receiving of constructive criticism and feedback to students on their performance to motivate and give them opportunity for improvement. I will give timely feedback that will give leads to my students on what they are required to do. The feedback process will also include the parents and engage them in students’ progress as well (Woolfolk, 2015).
As a new teacher whose goal is to positively impact the lives of my students and be successful in my career, the onus is on me to ensure that I am ready to take responsibility for my actions, ensure the safety of myself and my students and also prepared to teach. My concerns will be to know my ethical responsibilities and also develop myself professionally.
The issue of ethical responsibility is one to be taken seriously, especially as it involves working with children. My responsibility is to see that learning environment is safe for my students and they are not unduly exposed to abuse or dangers of any sort. It is my duty to familiarize myself with every applicable codes of conduct to ensure that I create an ideal learning environment for my students.
An ideal learning environment is one that parades knowledgeable and caring teachers who are ready to work in line with their students’ needs. They are creative and also critical thinkers, flexible and willing to change in alignment to changing students’ needs. All this I will strive to achieve by joining organization, groups and clubs that will provide mentoring and help for my professional development goals. In additional to this, as a future teacher who aspires to create an ideal learning environment, I will learn to develop and use authentic assessment measure, creatively adapt the curriculum to meet state competency requirements while also ensuring it is relevant to life experiences for my students and individual students needs for while making it relevant for life experiences (Ryshke, 2013).
Providing an ideal learning environment is subjective; it depends on individual to define what the ideal educational environment is. However it is not an easy task but with determination and a will to succeed, any teacher will be able to create an ideal environment in which the students can learn, be free to express themselves without fear of bullying, discrimination or disrespect. According to Robert Ryshke,
“If teachers are going to meet the needs of all students, they must build a toolbox of strategies that is geared towards diverse learners and learn how to work effectively with each of their students” (Ryshke, 2013)
Every teacher is a porter with the responsibility to mold their wards into members of the society with acceptable behavior. Failure in this duty is failure as a teacher.
Noddings, N. (2005, September). What does it mean to educate the whole child? Educational Leadership, 63(1), pp. 8-13.
Ryshke, R. (2013, February 24). What qualities make for an ideal school or classroom? Retrieved from
USC. (2011, August 17). An ideal learning environment. Retrieved from USC Rossier Online : https://rossieronline.usc.edu/blog/an-ideal-learning-environment/
Webster. (2015). Environment. Retrieved from Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/environment?s=t
Webster. (2015). Ideal. Retrieved from Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ideal?s=t
Woolfolk, A. (2015). Educational Psychology. USA: Pearson.