What do the 3 Rs have to do with a positive learning environment?
The 3 Rs in education are usually referring to:
These are important elements of education, but there are 3 more Rs that are just as important for creating a positive learning environment that enables students to learn the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic. These 3 Rs are:
A positive learning environment facilitates mutual RESPECT
Respect is something that adults often think that they deserve, and yes, students should have the proper respect for their teachers, their parents and other adults in their life, like a personal tutor or sports coach. However, in order for adults to gain the respect from students, there needs to be some level of mutual respect that adults should have for the students as well. If adults perpetually treat students like children who are incapable of behaving respectably then they are setting the students up to fail. In the classroom teachers can help their students learn how to respect adults, other students and themselves by setting a good example. Even the way a teacher greets a student can be a lesson on respect.
Teachers developing mutual respect with their students
When the students arrive in the classroom if the teacher ignores the students as they walk into the room and yells at them all at once to take their seats and begin their assignments, this does not convey proper respect. If the teacher were to greet a student as he comes in the door by saying “Good morning Mr. Andrews” and shaking his hand this makes the student feel like he is being treated with respect and it invites him to then return the respectful greeting by saying “Good morning Mrs. Roberts”. This is a basic lesson on how to develop respectful relationships in and out of the classroom.
Helping students develop a mutual respect for one another
Having a mutual level of respect for other students is necessary for creating a positive learning environment. Talking about respecting one another in the classroom at the beginning of the year is a good way to set up standards for how the classroom should operate. Teachers can help explain to the class that it is disrespectful to the other students if they are talking during class, because it is distracting and difficult for the other students to hear the teacher or pay attention to what they are working on. Rather than immediately going to the teacher to complain, a respectful way to deal with the situation would be to politely ask the student to please lower their voices or stop talking because it is difficult to hear. These types of scenarios can even be role played by the students so that the class can learn how to respond properly to these types of comments.
Giving students more RESPONSIBILITY cultivates a positive learning environment
Giving a student responsibility can be scary. It is easier for adults to do certain things themselves. In order to teach students to enlarge their capacity there has to be some transfer of responsibility. This is also important at home with the family. If parents continue to do everything for their children, then their children will grow up unable to do things for themselves and will rely solely on their parents to do everything for them. This does not help them to reach their full potential, but rather it hinders them and stunts their ability to develop proper skills. In the classroom this can be done by assigning classroom jobs, but also by helping students take responsibility for their work, for turning in assignments on time.
READINESS is a key factor in establishing a positive learning environment
This R is a little more subjective, but it is the key to the other Rs actually working. Students need to be helped to learn what it means to be ready to learn. You can have a discussion about how this means putting away distracting things on one’s desk. Why students can’t have their phones during school, or can’t listen to music on their headphones during a lesson. Being ready means to be focused on the lesson, listening and watching. Students can also be helped to learn how to get ready to do projects by getting all of the necessary materials ready. Emphasizing the importance of being ready to participate in class discussions is also something to discuss with students early on in the year. If all of the students proactively practice readiness, this will help establish a positive learning environment for the entire class.