The importance of establishing a safe and supportive learning environment
Psychologist Abraham Maslow described a hierarchy of needs that he argued provides a model for understanding the need for human relations in the classroom. Needs lower on the pyramid, such as physical and safety needs, must be met before an individual will consider higher-level needs.
The hierarchy of needs from the bottom of the pyramid consists of:
• The physiological need: Is the learning environment comfortable? Am I hungry, thirsty, tired, cold?
• Safety/security: Am I at danger while learning? Am I worried about anything?
• Recognition: Do I belong here, do others respect me?
• Self-esteem: Am I learning something useful?
• Self actualization: I am achieving what I wanted to
When ...view middle of the document...
This will enable them to feel comfortable and secure enough to learn and progress to the higher levels. You will need to appreciate that some students may not have these lower needs met in their home lives, making it difficult for them to move on to the higher levels.
Always try to establish a purposeful learning environment where your students feel safe, secure, confident and valued.
Ann Gravells. (2012). Theories of Learning. In: Amy Thornton PREPRING TO TEACH IN THE LIFELONG LEARNING SECTOR. Exeter: Learning Matters. 42.
Some examples on how to translate this to a learning environment could be that the teacher should make sure that the classroom is made comfortable and welcoming. Making sure the temperature and lighting is adequate, the room is clean and tidy. Placing chairs and tables so that it will suit the lesson plan, i.e. if group work is required during the lesson, tables should be placed that small groups can gather and communicate easily. When students arrive a welcoming greeting with a smile and an introduction might make them feel more at ease.
The use of icebreakers can help in creating and maintaining a healthy and successful learning environment for students and are also the best warm-ups to get students engaged in a learning task.
Within a learning environment it is necessary to determine class and group rules early on, as setting ground rules provides the framework to promote respect and lay the basis for what will be expected during the course, “setting ground rules will help everyone know their limits” Gravells. A, (2008 pg 7) This also allows everyone within the class to maintain a responsible attitude and a suitable level of behavior and enable both the learners and teacher to produce a good standard of work with less distraction, “without ground rules, disruption may occur and affect the learning of your group” Gravels. A, (2008 pg 7)