Creating a positive learning environment
of human needs
food - water - clothing - health
survival – security – order
Need to belong
identification – friendship – love
success – self-respect – confidence
Need for self-actualisation
desire to fulfil oneself
Maslow suggests that unless the lower order needs are met, we find it difficult to focus on fulfilment of the higher order needs. We all know from experience that it can be extremely difficult to concentrate if one is cold or hungry: our physiological needs take precedence over our other needs. It can be equally difficult to focus on learning if we are fearful of being bullied (by classmates or the teacher) or are desperate to go to the toilet.
There are various ways in which we can adapt the learning environment so that it caters for the PHYSICAL needs of our students.
We can meet the PSYCHOLOGICAL needs of our students.
We can encourage the development of PERSONAL esteem in our students.
Other ideas for creating a relaxed and positive learning environment
Use (calming) music – particularly as students enter the classroom.
Create a relaxing area in one corner of the classroom where students can “chill out” with a book.
Use aromatherapy oils (lavender in particular) to create a calm and pleasing ambience.
Change displays regularly.
Display a suitably uplifting or challenging “motto of the week”.
Create a class interest board where students can post interesting items. (Newspaper clippings about successful school projects; certificates and awards, holiday postcards, club details, etc.)
One teacher I know has a special padded comfy-chair which is used throughout the week by last week’s “pupil of the week”. This coveted position could be awarded by the class to the student they consider has deserved it for their efforts.
Another teacher awards a “trier-trophy” at the end of each day – which takes pride of place on the recipient’s desk. (It is actually an old darts trophy that he found in the bottom of a locker.)