Positive Learning Environment Forum Facilitation

Part of 3250 Instructional Strategies course is leading a forum discussion. Myself and a classmate are in charge of the topic of positive learning environments. I have found a lot of research supporting the theory that a positive learning environment enhances student learning. It makes sense that a student that feels welcomed and supported will be more likely to succeed.

Final summary posted May 20th, 2014: It has been a very positive experience for me helping facilitate the forum on positive learning environments (pun intended). Thank you everyone for your input! Here is a summary of the main points and links for future referencing:

  • Creating behavioral ground rules and setting boundaries to maintain a safe environment for everyone. Safety and security are paramount to ensure everyone feels physically and emotionally supported to contribute to the class.
  • A way to gather student feedback as to how they are feeling about the class is with a system called CIQ. Link below as to how specifically it operates.
  • Empathy and respect are very important to create a supportive and trusting environment, especially with the student diversity present in today’s classrooms.
  • Open communication with active listening that reinforces positive non verbal and verbal cues. Recognizing cultural differences and bridging the gaps in communication skills.
  • Acknowledging that adult learners may have many factors that influence their learning experience such as limited time due to other obligations, anxious about being back in school and a knowledge gap with new technology.
  • Positive learning environments corresponds to online courses as well, just a different format for creating a positive place for student discussion. Technical difficulties need to be addressed and solved quickly for student success.
  • Advice to teachers to learn to laugh at your mistakes and not take yourself so seriously. My classmate led a forum discussion specifically on the use of humour.
  • Technology and social media were discussed as to what the best policies are and how it is shaping the classroom environment. It could be seen as a distraction (no texting during class), but also as a positive way to enhance learning. Programs such as Socrative is a way implement cell phone use with immediate feedback for student evaluation. LInks below delve into other tips for incorporating technology successfully.


Barkley, Elizabeth F. (2010) Student Engagement Techniques :A Handbook For College Faculty. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass,

Brookfield, S. (2006). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (2nd Edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Carey, J. (2012, Nov 29). 4 Smart Ways to Use Cell Phones In Class. MindShift Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/11/four-smart-ways-to-use-cell-phones-in-class/

Doherty, B. (2012, Jan 25). Tips for Teaching Adult Students. Effective Teaching Strategies. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/tips-for-teaching-adult-students/

Donato, N. (n.d.). A Discussion of a Positive Learning Environment and Classroom Management. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://www.clarion.edu/20715.pdf

Edutopia Staff. (2011).Twenty Tips for Creating a Safe Learning Environment. The George Lucas Educational Foundation, Retrieved May 12, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/20-tips-create-safe-learning-environment-rebecca-alber

Humber College (2014), The Centre for Teaching and Learning. http://www.humber.ca/centreforteachingandlearning/instructional-strategies/teaching-methods/course-development-tools/technology-tools.html#

Jabr, F. (2013). The Reading Brain In The Digital Age: The Science of Paper Versus Screens. Scientific American. 4 (11). Retrieved from www.scientificamerican.com

Lands, B (2012, Feb 24), 13 Ways to Use Socrative as a Formative Assessment. The Landscape of Learning. Retrieved from http://www.thelandscapeoflearning.com/2012/02/11-ways-to-use-socrative-as-formative.html

Levy, Y. (2007). Comparing dropouts and persistence in e-learning courses. Computers and Education, 48, 185–204.

Ludden, J. (May 12, 2014). Why aren’t teens reading like they used to? National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved May 15, 2014 from http://www.npr.org/2014/05/12/311111701/why-arent-teens-reading-like-they-used-to?ft=1&f=1032&utm_source=SECOND+ATTEMPT+%2B%2B%2B%2B%2B%2B%2BJS+May+15%2C+2014%2C+Newsletter&utm_campaign=5%2F15%2F14+communique&utm_medium=email

Mann, J. C. (2014). A Pilot Study of RN-BSN Completion Students’ Preferred Instructor Online Classroom Caring Behaviours. ABNF Journal, 25 (2), 33-39.

Primary National Strategy, (2004) DfES 0523-2004 G, Crown copyright.

Sitzmann, T., Ely, K., Bell, B. S., & Bauer, K. N. (2010). The Effects of Technical Difficulties on Learning and Attrition during Online Training. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 16(3), 281-292.

Smith, N. (2010, May 4). Teachers Embracing Social Media In The Classroom. Tech News Daily. Retrieved from http://www.technewsdaily.com/421-teachers-embracing-social-media-in-the-classroom.html

Steele, A,, Richards, T. (2012). Student Perceptions of a Cloud Assessment Learning Environment. The Online Journal of Distance Education and E-Learning 2 (1).

Swafford, M., Bailey, S. & Beasley, K. (2014). Positive Learning Environment Enhance Student Achievement. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, 89 (5), 32-35.

Wales High School (2013, July 29). Positive Learning in the Classroom. Retrieved May 13, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kws17cOzzvw

Walter, J. D., Brooks, C. D., Baepler, P. (2011, Dec 15). Pedagogy and Space: Empirical Research on New Learning Environments. Educase Review Online Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/pedagogy-and-space-empirical-research-new-learning-environments

In addition, my classmate posted a fantastic link on using humour to promote a positive learning environment: http://www.humber.ca/centreforteachingandlearning/assets/files/Teaching%20Resources/01%20Laugh%20and%20Learn-B.pdf



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