Creating an Environment of Learner-Centered Culture

Week of February 9, 2015

The topic for this week’s #slowchatGSD is the LEARNING ENVIRONMENT of our school culture. Once we establish a safe, respectful, academically challenging environment in our individual classrooms, how might we unleash that energy into the hallways and throughout entire buildings?

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While the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Educator Effectiveness model carries a connotation of judgment and extra work, the purpose of the evaluation process is to promote individual growth supported by evidence of learning and reflection–much like our expectations of students. If we want to establish a learner-centered culture, educators should model intellectual curiosity, academic risk-taking, and a growth mindset.

Teacher performance standard: Learning Environment
Indicators
5.1 Establishes and maintains effective routines and procedures.
5.2 Creates and maintains a safe physical setting.
5.3 Establishes a climate of trust and teamwork by being fair, caring, respectful, and enthusiastic.
5.4 Promotes respectful interactions that challenge and engage all students within the learning environment.
5.5 Creates an environment that is academically appropriate, stimulating, and challenging.
5.6 Encourages student participation, inquiry, and intellectual risk-taking.
5.7 Respects and promotes the appreciation of diversity.
5.8 Uses a balance of effective verbal, nonverbal, and digital communication tools to foster a positive, culturally inclusive learning environment.

Stop the bus! I’m busy teaching. I’ve got administrative responsibilities. How do I fit all of this into a hectic week of school?

Good question. Here’s the answer: Participate in this week’s #slowchatGSD conversation as we build momentum for the Grafton Academy on February 16th, and EdCampOZ on March 7th.

Here are the #slowchatGSD questions that will be posted every morning…

Monday: What types of learning spaces create environments conducive to learning for all students? Share resources, images, and ideas.

Tuesday: How do you establish a climate of trust, teamwork, and respect for a diverse population? Include proof of specific outcomes.

Wednesday: How do we create a climate that is academically appropriate, stimulating, and challenging for all learners? What resources are needed to support this environment?

Thursday-Friday: Create your model classroom. No limitations. Think big. Be innovative. Take us on a tour using words, pics, & video. This one requires two days of sharing and design.

Be sure to follow and include the #slowchatGSD hashtag. Invite hesitant colleagues. Participating in an online chat provides a simple artifact and documentation of professional reflection for teachers, educational specialists, administrators, and support staff. This week, let’s also include students in the conversation. After all, students are the heart of our school culture; their voices must be heard.

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