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If you have traveled around the world, weather you are a student or a teacher, you will have been in a variety of classroom environments. Some are very different to others and some are more useful for creating language learner than others.
To learn a language you need the classroom to have these important features:
- A well-qualified teacher
This may seem a no brainer, but in fact there are many poor teachers teaching out there who may either be suffering from lack of interest in the subject to lack of professional development. All in all the end result will manifest itself in the students themselves. So a well-qualified and experienced teacher is the most important first step to a great environment.
- A teacher who instills confidence in the students
The teacher again, may know their subject well, but they also have to be supportive and encouraging. Students learn nothing if they are too frightened to speak up and ask questions.
- Language resources in the classroom for easy access
The number of resources can range from a simple CD player through to a full language lab. It doesn’t matter what you have but you must have some quality resources that are easily accessible for students who extend themselves.
- Regular speaking opportunities
We must never forget that English is a ‘language’ and one of the most important parts of this subject is speaking. The best classrooms have speaking activities all day long, not only during the class time, but when outside the classroom too. The best homework is speaking homework, as the student is able to monitor themselves.
- Regular listening to native English speaking opportunities
If your teacher is not a native English speaker, there do need to be a lot of listening resources that do involve native speaking listening activities. Listening and speaking operate as one subject and one without the other kills the whole experience.
- Rigorous assessment situations that involve both teacher and student evaluation
It’s all very well to learn, but we only really know if we are successful if we have some kind of assessment scale to rate ourselves against. Teachers of course need to assess, but students also need to be able to assess themselves, as learning a language is not restricted to the classroom time, but should involve ongoing activities when the class has finished. The best classrooms will look at integrated assessment techniques where students can bring their outside learning into the classroom too and everyone can assess and learn together.
- A sense of fun and adventure
What is a day without a laugh and a flicker of excitement. The best classrooms capture this feeling in everything that happens. This does come down to the teachers passion and drive to make the class interesting.
The best classrooms are those that have something almost electric in the air, everyone is on task and everyone wants a piece of the action. These are the best places to be and the best learning happens here.
So there you are…these are my 7 points of a great classroom. Let me know if I have missed anything!
- A place for learning
- 10 Characteristics of a highly effective learning environment
- Classroom organisation
- Creating a warm and inclusive classroom environment