Powerful learning environments occur when three key elements connect: effective teachers, engaged learners and meaningful content. I have created the picture below to visualise this thinking.
In my opinion, the adjectives are important here. A powerful learning environment doesn't just happen when you throw together teachers, learners and content in a blender. The creation of a powerful learning environment relies heavily on the individual qualities of these elements.
There is so much evidence and research which proves that great teachers get great results. I like to think of teachers as "master learners" and in being these masters, exhibit all the characteristics of what makes a great learner. Effective teachers are mindful about the needs of their students. They are constantly innovating, reflecting and seeking to improve their practice.
While student engagement is influenced by many external factors and systems such as environment, biology, content and teacher effectiveness, there is a certain internal engagement factor that each student has. An engaged child is more receptive to content and instruction and so this contributes to a powerful learning environment.
Back in my schooling years, I remember sitting in my childhood classroom thinking "when will I ever use this?" There are still children thinking the same thing. Designing authentic and deep learning opportunities are more common these days. And while higher bodies dictate curriculum outcomes, making the delivery and application of content meaningful is something we can influence - and in doing so make it more powerful. Being clear about the skills and knowledge being developed with students can help them to see value in a lesson.
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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