What Makes An Ideal Learning Environment?
Everyone, adults and children alike, responds favorably or unfavorably to their environment. The environment is more than just the physical building itself. It includes design, attitudes, emotions, social interaction and freedom for students to engage and stay focused in the learning process.
Helen Lee Schifter, former arbitrage trader for Wall Street and former editor, offers some practical and useful suggestions for creating ideal learning environments for both adults and children. Unity, harmony, calmness, peace and racial justice are needed to create ideal learning environments. How does one achieve this?
Less is more. Schifter believes in using minimalistic decorating design for her personal living space. White, black, silver colors with muted and restrained materials create a serene environment. Lampshade lighting as opposed to bright overhead ceiling lights provides a calming effect for the students, as well. Minimalistic design creates a relaxed environment which relaxes the students. Art can heal. Art can inform. Art creates a visual relaxant and inspiration for the students. Reduced noise levels create the appropriate quietness students need for calmness, peace and ideal learning opportunities. Any environment which incorporates these techniques will increase the students’ potential for learning.
Ms. Schifter advocates the benefits of patience. For students to have a better chance to learn, the idea of impatience must go. It is important to create an environment in which students slow down to reflect on the moments of learning. Reflecting and meditating on what is important helps students to prioritize the most important things. Students embrace what is important during the reflecting process. This gives students the chance to keep pursuing the learning experiences when the learning becomes important to them.
A healthy regimen is also necessary for an ideal learning environment. Surround students with choices they will hopefully apply lifelong. Daily provide students with healthy foods to eat. Healthy food choices contribute to the health and wellness of students. The learning environment should also provide ample time for physical workouts. Healthy, energetic students learn.
Students need the chance to socially interact with one another. Interaction with one another increases inner confidence. Students need the chance to express their feelings and viewpoints with one another in-person, as well as using social media. Race, ethnicity and differing beliefs should not stop the right and privilege of students to engage in expression. All who feel they are heard will hopefully reciprocate the same opportunity and privilege to their classmates and instructors. This process will aid in unity and harmony within the learning environment.
Students need to expose injustices as they arise. Doing so helps provide awareness and the ability to correct injustices. When all feel a part of the environment, then all feel they can participate in the learning process.
Learning is a lifelong process. Helen Lee Schifter believes that environments enhance and make possible the learning moments. Choices made and actions displayed will benefit or hinder the learning opportunities for all students. Pulling together, everyone can make the ideal learning environments all need to achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations.