TExES 268 Constructive- Response: Discussion Points for a Texas Classroom Learning Environment

The learning environment is not a classroom learning variable. In the Texas classroom, teaching is most effective when the physical, virtual, and cultural spaces of the classroom are conducive to both personal and social learning needs of the students.

“The learning environment can produce conditions and mediate relationships that can positively influence student cognitive, social, emotional and mental well-being, and increase student receptivity to you, content, exchange in the classroom, student motivation and study habits, and learning (Hess & Smythe, 2004).” Managing the Learning Environment | Faculty Innovation ... (n.d.).

The first to review would be your physical classroom. Think about how you move about the room to keep eye contact. Student engagement, is it quickly done within your room? Can a student hide within plain sight of you? The room size and shape must also be a factor. Good use for the students? Too big? Too small? Desk arrangement and technology arrangement all are incredibly important to today’s young people. If you ask students to move around for a class engagement, can they successfully? As a modern Texas educator, you may have a physical classroom or a virtual. Either still has the fundamental question to answer, “How can the technology increase student interaction with you, each other, and the course content.” There are several things to consider. Social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) are ways to engage students with course content and communication. A blog is useful. Instructional videos you or your students have created that students can view at home are great. Products, class assignments worked on outside the classroom through modern technology are other very positive ways to interact with the new student environment in and outside the classroom. The modern student respects a culturally sensitive space. The students who enter your classroom will have a wide variety of diverse identities, experiences, and perceptions about the content and the learning process (Hoidn, 2016, p. 84). Collins, in his article, what is a flexible learning environment, called the environment, “headspace.” This is referring to the valued behaviors, routines, self-concepts, the way a student and teacher think about what they are doing and why they are there. It is suggested that within this environment layer, you clearly establish guidelines for interaction with each other and with you. Vary your instructional strategies and allow students to work with content using a variety of methods and means. Create working relationship within the teams of students, thus creating collaboration, communication, and positive relationships. Students need opportunities to reflect, practice, communicate, and receive clear, supportive feedback as they explore your content and your classroom. In order to maintain a thriving learning environment, you must manage it. Fold it, turn it, make it your own and your students to the benefit of all. In discussing the classroom learning environment, the student-candidate must consider the state standards for this challenge. As with all things, Texas, the state school program has a written set of standards for this specific area for you to consider. It would be wise during a constructed-response essay you include some of these finer points from the state. Standard 4. Learning Environment. Teachers interact with students in respectful ways at all times, maintaining a physically and emotionally safe, supportive learning environment that is characterized by efficient and effective routines, clear expectations for student behavior, and organization that maximizes student learning.

  1. Teachers create a mutually respectful, collaborative, and safe community of learners by using knowledge of students’ development and backgrounds.
    1. Teachers embrace students’ backgrounds and experiences as an asset in their learning environment.
    2. Teachers maintain and facilitate respectful, supportive, positive, and productive interactions with and among students.
    3. Teachers establish and sustain learning environments that are developmentally appropriate and respond to students’ needs, strengths, and personal experiences.
  2. Teachers organize their classrooms in a safe and accessible manner that maximizes learning.
    1. Teachers arrange the physical environment to maximize student learning and to ensure that all students have access to resources.
    2. Teachers create a physical classroom set-up that is flexible and accommodates the different learning needs of students.
  3. Teachers establish, implement, and communicate consistent routines for effective classroom management, including clear expectations for student behavior.
    1. Teachers implement behavior management systems to maintain an environment where all students can learn effectively.
    2. Teachers maintain a strong culture of individual and group accountability for class expectations.
    3. Teachers cultivate student ownership in developing classroom culture and norms.
  4. Teachers lead and maintain classrooms where students are actively engaged in learning, as indicated by their level of motivation and on-task behavior.
    1. Teachers maintain a culture that is based on high expectations for student performance and encourages students to be self-motivated, taking responsibility for their own learning.
    2. Teachers maximize instructional time, including managing transitions.
    3. Teachers manage and facilitate groupings in order to maximize student collaboration, participation, and achievement.
    4. Teachers communicate regularly, clearly, and appropriately with parents and families about student progress, providing detailed and constructive feedback, and partnering with families in furthering their students’ achievement goals.
Finally, when creating your constructed-response essay, make sure you follow the simple procedures of a “short-essay” outline. Check your spelling and your grammar as best as possible. The main thing is to show the state you do know what you are talking about and you are using “their material” to prove it.

TExES 268 Constructive- Response: Discussion Points for a Texas Classroom Learning Environment
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