Creating a Favorable Learning Environment In the Classroom


By Jared Peterreins


A favorable learning environment is one where the students and the teacher are able to freely interact with each other.  During these times of interaction the teacher and the students will come across many learning moments that trigger a time in their life that they can relate the given topic.  This trigger is set by prior knowledge, the key element of the learning cycle. 


The Learning Cycle


“Creating a favorable learning environment, to our way of thinking, should involve helping students link learning to their own lives”  Alvermann, Phelps. 


  1. Prior Knowledge
  2. Purpose
  3. Attention
  4. Information
  5. Understanding
  6. Prior Knowledge


This is how the cycle works.  Prior knowledge generates a purpose, which gets the attention of the student.  From there the student selects the information that he or she wants to bring into context.  Then the student creates a better understanding of the information to the way they see it, this in turn modifies their prior knowledge. 


Activities to Trigger Prior Knowledge


CT-RA (Creative Thinking and Reading Activities)


This activity can be used after an assigned reading or lecture.  e.g.  (Creating Your Own Business)


  1. Develop with students the rules for brainstorming:
    1. Think of as many ideas as you can
    2. No criticism of any ideas--even your own
    3. Go for any freewheeling thought--the wilder the better
    4. Build on others’ ideas and combine them


  1. Give students the creative thinking task ( only one)  and allow finve minutes for brainstorming.
  2. Share ideas in large group.
  3. Announce a single criterion for students to evaluate and select and answer--for example,  “ Which of the solutions is the wildest?”
  4. Share these responses. (Ruddell, 1996, p. 103)



Teaching Strategies


·        Give activities that the students can succeed in.  Success maximizes effort.

·        Always encourage the students; find something good in everything they do.

·        Demonstrate respect for everyone in your classroom.  If you respect them, they will respect you and others.


Cooperative Learning


One method that I think works is the Jigsaw Method. With this method there is both individual learning and cooperative learning. 


  1. The students are given the information they need to cover.
  2. After time has been allowed for them to complete the individual work, the students form groups of six.  Here the students discuss what they have learned from the material.
  3. From the larger groups of six they divide into partner groups of three where they come up with a team report on the information.
  4. Finally, you as a teacher can assess them on the information