New Educators: The Top 5 FAQ’s About the School Environment Answered
If you’re new to teaching, getting a good grasp on all the ins and outs of school environment and how to navigate it effectively can be difficult. Here, we’ve answered five of the top questions new educators need to know the answers to, when it comes to stepping through the classroom door:
1. What should I know about the school environment?
The school environment includes the structure, schedule, space, curriculum, coursework, and the approach to socialization. School environments are highly variable.
Most schools cluster grades into preschool, elementary, middle, and high school. The early childhood environment is holistic and focuses on providing students with skills such as following directions and sharing. The elementary environment moves from learning the basics of math and reading to applying the lessons learned. The middle school environment involves more electives. In high school, students begin to narrow down career choices.
2. What types of curricula exist in schools?
Curricula range widely from school to school. It is important to be aware of your school’s curriculum. Subject-centered curricula, the most common in American schools, focus on a single area, such as World War II. All students study the same thing. Student-centered curricula allow more freedom for students to explore learning. States have differing amounts of oversight regarding curricula. However, all have established standards or benchmarks that students are expected to reach.
3. What are the attributes of an effective teacher?
Effective teachers generally have some or all of the following attributes: they are enthusiastic; have a positive attitude; are knowledgeable about the subject, curriculum, and pedagogical content; are good group leaders; and are ethical and passionate. Furthermore, teachers should take responsibility for their professional development and should stay up to date with the latest theories and methods.
4. How can I create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning?
To create an optimal classroom environment, it’s important to first focus on the physical space. Ensure that desks are placed so all students can see the teacher. Put students with behavior problems or disabilities in the “action zone” (front and center). Create learning centers around the classroom. Next, establish clear ground rules, and be consistent in enforcing them. Have a plan for every moment of the day, so there’s no time for students to create problems. Demonstrate that you care for the students, and focus on creating a positive classroom atmosphere.
5. How should I approach classroom management?
It’s important to first diagnose the causes of misbehavior. Home environments influence students’ behavior in school. Teachers should be sensitive to the home environments students are coming from. The classroom environment can also affect student behavior. Ensure that the room has good air circulation, that the temperature is ideal, and that desks and chairs fit the students. A mismatch between student ability and the material being taught can also affect behavior.
Poor teaching habits can also lead to misbehavior. Treat all students with respect. Never raise your voice or speak in a disparaging manner. Leave your personal problems at home.
Physical and psychological factors such as ADHD or substance abuse can also affect student behavior, and teachers should make an effort to be aware of these.
There are various approaches to classroom management. These include various approaches to promoting self-discipline, which focus on helping students control and modify their own behavior, and the desist approach, in which teachers use various tools, such as positive and negative reinforcement, to promote good behavior.
To motivate students, it’s important to increase student participation, allow and encourage students to work on topics that they’re interested in, and create a flexible environment in the classroom.
Hopefully your initial qualms have been quelled know that you have the information vitals at hand, but if you’re still keening to know more, check out our other articles on education and effectively managing the classroom environment.