Environmental Impact: Creating the Space for Your Child to Succeed

BJ_moodshots_2017_1326

In wishing to give their children the best possible education, parents often prioritize choosing the right curriculum or looking for schools with strong test scores. However, though these are important considerations, there’s another, often-overlooked factor that has a tremendous effect on student learning and retention – the study environment.

A link between learning environment and learning outcomes has long been hypothesized, but research is now more and more pointing to its reality.  A study at a UK university even found that the classroom environment can affect student’s academic progress by as much as 25%.

But how can parents and teachers make use of this research? How can study environments be shaped to best improve academic outcomes?  Devreaux Poole, Learning and Teaching Coordinator at Yew Chung International School of Beijing, offers tips that can be used in the classroom or at home to provide students with a learning environment most conducive to growth and deep learning.

 

The Physical Space

When creating the physical layout of a learning space, the most important thing to remember is that all students are different.  Some learners prefer quiet spaces, while others are naturally energized through group work.  Moreover, the same learner may find that different spaces help them to focus more deeply depending on the task at hand – they may prefer lounging on a beanbag chair when reading a novel and sitting quietly at their desk to complete their math work.

It’s important for adults to understand how these environmental factors affect a student’s ability to focus and engage in deep learning.  Factors such as organization of classroom materials, cleanliness, lighting, and ambient noise all affect students in different ways.  There is no one-size-fits-all model.  The key instead is to offer a variety of learning environments through which students can cycle depending on the task at hand.

BJ_moodshots_2017_1142 copy

The Organizational Space

Similarly, it’s important to keep the learning environment organized.  Furniture should be comfortable and well maintained so that students can feel relaxed and stay focused on their studies. 

Within the classroom, workstations should also be arranged so that teachers can maintain a good vantage point from which to view their student’s work habits.  With careful desk or workstation placement, teachers could walk freely around the classroom and focus on individual learners’ needs.

 BJ_moodshots_2017_1307

The Psychological Space

The psychological environment is equally important as the physical one, both at home and at school.  Parents and teachers should have a calm and supportive approach in dealing with students, otherwise, there is a risk of academic-related anxiety, rebellious behavior, and poor grades.

Positivity is another key component of a successful learning environment. If students feel supported, learning becomes a happy experience, through which they’re more likely to take risks and feel confident in their decisions.

Finally, parents and teachers should make sure that students are aware of what’s expected from them and the consequences for failing to meet those standards.  By having a framework, students can actually operate more freely and creatively – when knowing their boundaries, they’re no longer hesitant to take chances.

 

Self-Reflective Learners

At YCIS Beijing, the kindergarten, Primary and Secondary divisions are now utilizing a Learning Community model.  This is the result of an appreciation of learning environments as a central factor in student achievement. 

Yet an added benefit of the Learning Community model is that students are able to realize the effect that the environment has on their own learning – which was not an obvious insight in a traditional classroom.  If students find an assignment to be challenging, they’re now less likely to feel discouraged and label themselves a poor learner, but rather, to consider that in order to better engage with the material they simply need to change their environment.

With proper setup and use of a learning environment, students are growing more self-reflective of their learning process, and are better able to achieve their learning outcomes.

Article shared by Brett Snipes, Senior Marketing Officer of YCIS

 

Related Posts:

About Marketing

I am living in China since 2009 and in Beijing since 2011. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!