Strategies to build a productive, positive learning environment for students

It is the teacher’s responsibility to interact with students in a positive manner and encourage constructive behaviour. Net photo.

A good learning environment matters a lot to students as it boosts their knowledge, thus improving their academic grades and character. This kind of environment is not only created by teachers or heads of schools, but by parents and students as well.

According to Bonita Tona Umuringa, a student of Maranyundo Girls School, Nyamata, Bugesera, for a positive and productive learning environment, it is the teacher’s responsibility to interact with students in a positive manner, show them constructive behaviour, and assist them in maintaining a positive attitude.

To her, students need to be guided on positive actions, because that leads to a positive self-image. Some of these positive actions include; nutrition, exercise, and resting enough for a healthy functioning body. All these are necessary for a good learning environment.

A positive learning environment is one where optimistic deeds are instilled in learners, such as, problem-solving, decision-making, thinking skills, kindness, treating each other with respect, among others, Umuringa says.

John Mary Musinguzi, the headmaster at Little Bears Montessori School, Kigali, explains that schools should have good and responsible teachers.

He says responsible teachers lift learners’ interests in studying since they know tricks of teaching and get the best out of the students. For instance, such teachers can organise extra lessons for slow learners in order to be on the same level with others, which leaves no student behind.

“Students need to be taught about time management, managing their emotions, admitting their mistakes and being responsible for their actions. There is a lot to learn outside the classroom,” Musinguzi says.

He adds that learners need to know about how to set goals that lead to personal growth and improvement.

Musinguzi urges teachers to always build classroom rules and procedures but also give a chance for learners to participate in class, and listen to their views. There is power in offering a chance to students to try out something on their own.

“When a student scores low grades, as a teacher, give them feedback, that way, they will know the mistakes made. Also, give them a way forward on how they can perform better. Teachers’ feedback shouldn’t be negative, however, they should find means of packaging it well do that students do not feel judged.

Teachers should be truthful in their feedback, good feedback tells the learner what they did correctly, where they missed the mark, and what exactly they should do next,” Umuringa says.

Enos Tumwikirize, a Kigali Parents School teacher, says that a productive and positive learning environment plays a vital role in the teaching and learning process, it calls for a teacher to be creative and innovative.

He says a good learning environment involves flexible teaching and learning aids. This will not only promote learning but also keep learners interested in the content for further study.

Tumwikirize says that children learn more in an environment where they feel valued and protected. Teachers have to be sure to use research-based instructional strategies for students to understand what is expected of them, and be able to demonstrate.

Umuringa notes that in order to have a productive, positive learning environment, there is need for continuous interaction between the teacher and the student, so that learners find it easy to open up to the teacher and ask questions freely.

Musinguzi says, the teacher who knows what to do will prepare the learning area that will be welcoming and entertaining to learners.

In addition, Umuringa states, students need close supervision from their parents and guardians to empower and encourage them to aim higher, and also support them with requirements that facilitate their learning.

“While teaching, teachers should include stories not far from the topic being taught to bring back the attention of some students who are bored. Teachers ought to be creative and use humour while teaching, that way, they will relate with students, thus allowing them to grasp what is taught,” she explains.

Musinguzi says that teachers should be looked after well and properly catered for so that they teach students with a settled mind.

Umuringa urges teachers to give students a chance to make decisions about classroom projects, make learning applicable, and develop a school code of conduct.

Tumwikirize says a good teacher studies content prior to the opening of the term and plans in advance for the relevant teaching or learning aids using the available resources.

He explains that a productive learning environment should focus on learners’ level, age, interest, and needs. This will most certainly boost the learning process.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com