Building the right atmosphere for learning in your home

Learning is not just about what happens when the teacher sets a task, or models at the board – learning is all about the relationships and atmosphere that are created in and around a classroom.

Everyone knows that learning takes place at school. Everyone knows that progress in multiple subjects happen and everyone knows that this is down to the skill of the teacher. But allow me to tell you a little secret – learning is not just about what happens when the teacher sets a task, or models at the board – learning is all about the relationships and atmosphere that are created in and around a classroom. It is this atmosphere which invites children in, which motivates them to want to learn and supports them if they fail. We spend hour after hour creating this and now that students are working at home I wanted to share some ideas about what you could do – to build the appropriate atmosphere and feeling for learning in your home.

  1. Create a team – Humans are innately social beings. We thrive on interaction and operate best when we feel happy and safe. Creating a team spirit will support this.
  2. Take a moment – Take time to breath and focus. It is proven that meditation and mindfulness increase connection with learning and improves memory – as well as lowers frequency of unwanted outbursts.
  3. WOW, That is awesome! – Celebrate success, pin it on the wall, share it with everyone, go back to it as a reminder when times are hard.
  4. Leave your comfort zone – When we do this we enter the stretch zone. This is where we leave the place/knowledge we find easy and do something which challenges us.
  5. Go with the flow – flow is where we take direction from the others in the room (student). This could mean changing what we are doing to suit, adding something in or even stopping altogether when things are not going as we would expect – teachers stop and change what they are doing in live time, all the time, there is nothing wrong with this.
  6. Play to positives – Everyone is different. What we need to do is allow learners to utilize their strengths, what makes them creative and unique in their response to learning. For example, when asked to design my son will always use lego, some will grab clay, some an i-pad, others a pencil. No right or wrong answer here – just different but all playing to strengths.
  7. Be optimistic – you can do this, you will succeed, you cannot do it YET!!
  8. Get active – physical exercise is one of the best ways to boost the health of both our bodies and our minds. Children need the release of energy and active stimulus then they can complete more sedentary tasks eg: writing.

There is no magic wand to create effective environments but sticking to the ideas above and spending a little time being relentlessly consistent is a good start.