Creating a positive learning environment in the classroom

23 September 2013 (Monday)

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During my 3 years of teaching preschoolers, I have never been given a Mathematics Lesson to teach.  So it is a real wonder if I don’t feel anxiety and stress when I stepped into Dr Yeap’s class on the first day.   Surprisingly, it is a module which one doesn’t feel stressed out from it anymore but enjoys in wonderment of what Mathematics is all about!

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 Why did I enjoy it?

There is never a “one right answer” to anything!  And Dr Yeap has modeled it well.

–          He allows plenty of time for our exploration and reflection

–          He allows discussion and then he illustrates the different methods one could apply to

problem solve.

During the class sharing session on ways to find out “which alphabet will 99 stop at BAN HAR”, one classmate had shared her method but it was not substantiated with evidence.  Dr Yeap smilingly responded: ” Although we can’t find the answer (through the method shared by the classmate),  it may be useful in the future.”  Isn’t this being very encouraging to spur on one’s courage and enthusiasm to persevere in more future challenges!

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In schools, children are not given enough time for exploration; teachers practically rushed them through their work to meet the day’s prescheduled timetable.  Teachers start to take over children’s work in order to do a “quick fix”.

So,  NEVER,  NEVER, EVER tell a child “No, that’s not the right answer” and create fear in wanting to try again.

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      Now let us create a positive learning environment in the classroom

Be bold to put in place practices of what is important for the children.  Let children explore enough before introducing conceptual learning.   When I was manipulating with the tan gram pieces,  I was told that no matter what shapes you were given, any 7 pieces of tan gram pieces will allow you to make a rectangle.  At the end of the session, I still could not get a rectangle. However, I felt an innate need to want to persist further.  I begin to realize that any child who may be struggling like me to make the rectangle will probably need more time to figure how this is to be done and that innate desire to want to master that ability is to be addressed.

I experience encouragement in a positive learning environment  – I truly realize how it feels to confront a challenge but not feeling stress from this challenge.

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