Creating a Safe and Supportive Learning Environment

Creating a Safe and Supportive Learning Environment
It is important to foster a learning environment in which students feel safe, relaxed, and willing to take risks, especially for learners who may have had negative experiences in traditional classroom environments. Students often describe supportive learning environments as expanding their sense of family and enhancing their self-esteem, which, when combined with increased literacy skills, help students take more chances in pursuing their goals.
Here are some ways to create a supportive learning environment for your students:
Build a strong classroom community
The adult education classroom can play an important role in helping students build stronger and larger networks. Classrooms provide students and staff with friendship, skills, and contacts beyond their immediate communities. Intentionally building networks in the classroom can create meaningful, supportive relationships among students and teachers.
•Use pair work, as well as small-group and whole-class activities, beginning the first day of class to help students get acquainted, and provide ongoing opportunities for students to form connections with students they don’t interact with as frequently in the classroom.
•Provide students with opportunities to share about their backgrounds and cultures.
•Seek to connect students with the greater community, through field trips, current events discussions, bringing guest speakers, etc.
Build self-esteem and self-efficacy
Students’ determination and belief that they can achieve their goals are important factors in their persistence in ongoing learning. Adult learners may have negative feelings about themselves due to failure experienced in their lives, due to dropping out of school, losing a job, or not being able to read or write well enough to complete a job application or read to their children .
•Ensure that students experience success at their first meeting so the first experience is a positive one....