Monday, February 9, 2009

Under What Conditions Do Children Learn Best?

There are many conditions that children learn better in than others, however; one condition clearly sticks out in my mind. Children learn best in safe environments. I want to make my classroom a safe place for my children to learn and grow. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs chart shows that children can not continue to learn until all psychological and safety needs are met. As a teacher knowing that children will not be able to learn until certain needs are met will help me create great learning conditions. For example, if the child is hungry because food is not abundant at home then they will not be able to focus on multiplication problems in math class. Thus I can make better learning conditions by planning to have packs of peanut butter crackers in my classroom for situations such as these. My reasoning behind this is to make learning and focusing on their work easier for the child. This is only one example, however; there are several ways that I intend to incorporate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in my own classroom to help explain certain circumstances.
First of all, I plan to establish a routine to start and continue through the entire day. Children are at a better piece of mind to learn when they know what is about to happen. Having a routine, for example in the morning when they come in or when they go to centers, is something that establishes a safe classroom environment. If students do not know what is about to happen next, it can possibly create an anxious and nervous situation. I learned this when I worked and did service learning hours at The Discovery Club after school care program in college at Auburn University. The kids would come in from school and know that they have 20 minutes of homework time and then its snack and play time. They also knew that homework time is quiet time. Since they knew that homework time is right when they come in, they are quiet without even being told. This takes a little bit of stress off us as teachers to make them behave and have to remind them everyday to be quiet. This routine is established at the beginning of the school year and is reinforced everyday. It is amazing to see how the children quickly respond to the set guidelines. Children seem to show an appreciation for knowing what is expected of them daily. This also allows them to focus on what is being taught rather than worrying about what is going to happen next and when, for example, P.E or recess is going to take place. They know what to do throughout the day.
I also want to establish a safe environment by making sure that everybody is comfortable being in my classroom. I want to get to know my students and find out if something is bothering them by the classroom set up or when I set up seating arrangements. Teasing and making fun of other students will not be tolerated in my classroom. Every student deserves to feel safe in my classroom and I will not allow other students to ruin that for one of their peers. It does not matter what is going on before or after school, when students are in my classroom they will feel safe. This is especially important for students who do come from a troubled or dishearten situations when they are at home. I want my eight hours to allow the children a chance to feel that they belong. I want to help establish the best possible conditions for the student to learn. If students do not feel comfortable or something is bothering them it might make it difficult to focus on their school material. As a teacher, I feel that it is my responsibilities to establish belongingness and build esteem where I can help. When children feel good about their self it also contributes to having an excellent learning condition. My students’ needs will be placed at the top of my priority list.

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