Building a positive learning environment

Advice on creating a positive learning environment.

There are many strategies and techniques that you can use to create a positive learning environment that will foster student engagement and provide an enriching learning experience.

Here are just a few ways:

  • Encourage participation
  • Show your enthusiasm
  • Be prepared
  • Make it personal
  • Be accessible
  • Provide experiential exercises
  • Flip the classroom

Define expectations

Provide students with an outline of what you expect them to learn and why. This is especially important for large classes as there are too many students to engage with each one individually. Providing and going over the syllabus is crucial in communicating your expectations.

Encourage participation

Students learn more when they are actively involved in the learning process, rather than just listening.

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Engaging activities

Case-based learning
Research has shown that case-based learning has been very successful at providing a context for abstract material. Cases also provide an ‘experience’ for students that can be transformed into learning through reflection or experimentation.

Experiential learning opportunities
A variety of experiential learning strategies can be explored and implemented to create conditions in which students, through engagement in the interactive tasks, can deepen their understanding of key course goals.

Learning technologies
There are many ways you can use learning technologies to provide engaging activities.

Ask for feedback

Communication is a two-way process that involves both speaking and listening. Teachers who regularly check in with their students have a better understanding of how to improve their teaching, while students tend to engage more readily in their learning process if their input is actively and regularly sought.

Share your enthusiasm

Share your enthusiasm for your subject matter. Sharing your passion and enthusiasm will help convey why your subject is interesting and encourage students to care about the subject matter.

Make it personal

Differences between large and small classes

Creating a personalized environment can engage students by making them feel a part of the earning process. Ways to make it more personal:

  • Learn and use student's names
  • Be approachable
  • Be accessible
  • Learn about your studen'ts interests and backgrounds

Teaching to a large class

Consciously building a positive learning environment is especially important in large classes, where students often don't feel included in the learning process and you are unable to provide the same learning opportunities as easily as you would be able to in a smaller class.

International teachers

Suggestions and information for teachers from abroad, including cultural challenges and differences, language skills in the class, and student expectations.

Getting Help

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning

Whether you have a new teaching strategy in mind or are seeking potential strategies for meeting your current goals GMCTL can help.

Distance Education Unit (DEU)

DEU offers sstrategies for teaching with technologies to create an effective community of learners.