With reference to a range of literature, discuss the key characteristics of an effective learning environment.
It may be argued that an effective learning environment cannot be defined so simply as the physical setting of the primary classroom in which learning takes place. It will be shown that a variety of factors impact on the effectiveness of a learning environment or environments. Creemers and Rezigt state that “the classroom environment is the setting in which student learning takes place. It concerns the classroom’s physical environment, the social system, the atmosphere, and norms and values.” (103) Thus, the key characteristics to be discussed include the impact of a positive classroom climate for the development of relationships in the classroom, how the arrangement of a classroom and its resources can have an impact on the learning that takes place and how the role of the teacher and successful strategies for behaviour management in the classroom also affect the effectiveness of the learning that occurs.
Arguably, a key characteristic of an effective learning environment is when it is both positive and purposeful. This can be said of primary schools as they serve to “transmit skills, aspirations, norms and behaviour patterns” (LeCompte, M, 1978:22) to create an environment which is fundamental for the effective learning of its pupils. It may be argued that for effective learning to take place within the context of the Primary School, this learning must occur within a positive classroom climate, where the aim is “to promote good classroom practice by, almost exclusively, positive methods” (Wheldall, K and Merrett, F, 1989: 11).
Predominantly, for learning to take place effectively, this positive classroom climate must promote the development of positive relationships and create an atmosphere where all pupils feel safe and valued. Jacques and Hyland (2003) state that “the relationships formed and fostered between teacher and child,...