Building a Positive Learning Environment (Erasmus+ Mobility)

The actions supported under this Key Action brought positive and long-lasting effects on us, the participants and participating organisations involved, as well as on the policy systems in which such activities were framed. In our case, the mobility activities in Cyprus produced some significant outcomes.

– Improved teaching competences and broader the understanding of practices;
– Increased our capacity to trigger changes in terms of modernisation and international opening within our educational organisations;
– Greater understanding of interconnections between formal and non-formal education;
– Better quality of our work and activities in favour of students;
– Increased ability to address the needs of people with fewer opportunities;
– Improved foreign language and digital competences;
– Increased motivation and satisfaction in our daily work.

The course lasted for six days and consisted mostly in a theoretical part (four days and a half, six hours a day) involving means of creating a positive learning environment and a socialising part which improved our foreign language and digital competences through creative activities, visiting and learning about the history, culture and traditions of Cyprus.

The theoretical part was complex, very well structured and provided us with a lot of useful information, which can be easily applied in classroom no matter the subject we teach. This is the reason why a short summary of this course will be presented in the forthcoming pages.

The importance of a positive learning environment

Classroom environment is one of the most important factors influencing students’ learning and a place where students should feel safe and secure and healthy relationships with peers and teachers flourish. An ideal learning classroom is when students view their classrooms as positive and supportive, which help them improve attention, reduce anxiety and support emotional and behavioral regulation.

Positive, productive learning environments:
– Are the key to students’ academic emotional and social success in school;
– Must be created because they do not happen on their own;
– Should be carefully prepared;
– Should fulfil the needs of each student;
– Should enable students to become independent, active learners.

The learning environment is “the third teacher” who
– Can enhance the learning;
– Optimizes students’ potential to respond creatively and meaningfully to future challenges.

Factors that affect teaching and learning

  • Intellectual factor
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Physical factors
  • Attitudes
  • Emotional and social factors
  • Teacher’s personality
  • Environmental factor

A positive learning environment is created when students
– Feel valued and supported;
– Feel physically and emotionally safe – they see the classroom as a place where they can be themselves and express themselves and their ideas without judgement;
– Are challenged to achieve high expectations and all the students receive the support necessary to meet those expectations;
– Have clear instructions and support;

Lifelong learning key competences

  • Multilingual
  • Literacy
  • Cultural awareness and expression
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Citizenship
  • Personal and social learning
  • Digital
  • STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematical

Activities for team building

  • Are educational and enjoyable;
  • Facilitate collaborative and motivated work culture;
  • Help in problem solving and decision making;
  • Aid use of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking;
  • Create atmosphere to enhance learning;

Examples of activities
– Stand on the line
– The egg drop challenge
– Newspaper tower building
– A spaghetti tower

Classroom management

Classroom management is the key in creating positive learning environment and refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques. It should be the priority of every teacher because it determines the successful learning process and minimizes the behaviors that impede learning and maximizes those which facilitate or enhance learning. A classroom management plan
– Is necessary for a successful classroom management;
– Includes a series of routines and processes leading to desirable management and discipline;
– Should include the procedures, reward and consequences in cases of response (or not) of pupils.

Teaching procedures and routines in school

  • Strengthens classroom management;
  • Should start from the pupils’ first day at school;
  • Needs a classroom management plan;
  • Makes teaching much easier;
  • Motivates the students and keeps them focused;
  • Helps students work calmly and quietly;
  • Reduces classroom interruptions and discipline problems.

7 Steps in teaching procedures and routine
– Step 1: Explanation
– Step 2: Model how to
– Step 3: Model how not to
– Step 4: Have a student model
– Step 5: Have a group model
– Step 6: Implementation with the whole class
– Step 7: Support/encouragement

Classroom setup

  • Is an important component in a learning environment;
  • Can create an inviting, safe and supportive learning environment;
  • Affects both students and teacher;
  • Supports and promotes both teaching and learning;
  • Can help prevent behavior issues.

Communication skills

Communication skills are fundamental skills to use the language in order to transmit knowledge and information, to improve relationships, to develop empathy and respect for others. Moreover, they allow us to function more effectively in different situations.

In order to have effective communication teachers should

  • Speak clearly (loud enough, not too fast, faces the class, avoid mannerisms);
  • Use words that students should be able to understand;
  • Use non-verbal communication suitable (appropriate gestures and expressions, move around, eye contact with whole class);
  • Speak understandably;
  • Get regular feedback from the students.

4 Types of communication style

1. Director                 Strengths                                 Weaknesses

-goal oriented                              -pursues big, risky challenges

-emphasis on bottom line        -makes abrupt decisions

-makes quick decisions            -lack of esprit de corps

-willing to take risks                    -lack of communication

2. Expresser             Strengths                                 Weaknesses

-idea oriented                              -lots of ideas, goals

-emphasis on people                -lack of clear priorities

-entertaining, fun                        -difficulty with follow through

3. Thinker                   Strengths                                 Weaknesses

-fact and process oriented        -linear thinking

-emphasis on precision            -unwilling to take risks

-stress academic credentials  -tends to miss deadlines

-lots of quality control                 -blind to the big picture

4. Harmonizer           Strengths                                  Weaknesses

-relationship oriented                 -avoids conflict, change

-emphasis on team                    -makes decisions slowly

-fun, warm, friendly                      -not clear about purpose, goals

-loyal to the cause                       -tendency towards bureaucracy

Dealing with bullying

Bullying is a form of violence, harmful to those involved which occurs repetitively and involves an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim. Students are repeatedly subject to negative actions by one or more students.

Kinds of bullying

  • Physical bullying
  • Verbal bullying
  • Social bullying
  • Psychological bullying
  • Cyberbullying

Steps for a bullying incident

A. Meeting with the victim. The management team:

  • Makes the student feel safe and recalls the role of the school;
  • Assures the student that they are not responsible for what has happened;
  • Collects information about: the events, the bullies, the place;
  • Clarifies that the school will deal the incident according to the school policy;
  • Informs the student about the actions to be taken of the incident;
  • Sets a new meeting with the victim in a week;
  • Informs the victim’s parents about the school incident;
  • Reassures the student that the incident will not spread in school.

B. Meeting with the bully. The management team:

  • Indicates that the school is aware of the school bullying incident;
  • Treats the bully strictly in order to realise that the incident is serious;
  • Discuss the bully’s behaviour during the incident;
  • Insists on the rules and school policy for bullying;
  • Helps the bully reflect on their behaviour (empathic development);
  • Sets a new meeting in a week to discuss the implementation;
  • Mentions that the team will monitor their behaviour the next days;
  • Informs the bully’s parents.

C. Meeting with the witness/ witnesses. The management team:

  • Indicates that the school is aware of the school bullying incident;
  • Insists on school policy for non-tolerance of violence;
  • Listens to their own version of the facts;
  • Helps the witness to reflect on their behaviour (empathy);
  • Helps the witness to think how they could help the victim.

D. Communication with parents. The management team:

  • Phones the parents of the involved students;
  • Arranges separate meetings with the parents;
  • Pay attention to communication.

Final thoughts

I consider the mobility more than useful concerning nowadays’ school education because it brings into attention up-to-date situations that occur to every teacher and offers proper solutions to improve our abilities of teaching and communicating with students and parents. I believe that I am more professionally enriched as a result of my participation in this mobility.

* * *

Erasmus+ 2020-1-RO01-KA101-078964 – staff mobility in Cyprus, Classroom management, Communication skills, Effective teaching and learning Limassol – 2021
Școala Gimnazială Nr.5, Rm. Vâlcea
Prof. Mirela Maier
Prof. Mihaela Mărăcine


prof. Mirela Maier

Școala Gimnazială Nr. 5, Râmnicu Vâlcea (Vâlcea) , România
Profil iTeach:

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