It is very important that we as education facilitators maintain a safe and supportive learning environment in the classroom in which our students feel relaxed, safe secure valued and confident. This can be especially important for students who previously have had a negative experience in the classroom. We hope that the students will get a supportive learning environment that not only increases their knowledge but also in turn increase their self-esteem. When we think of a safe environment we naturally focus on the physical nature of being safe, but in the class-room we can also include the mental aspect of being safe as regards to the students’ feelings.
Firstly let’s focus on the physical safety of the student. As a teacher/facilitator we must make sure that the students are physically safe not only when they come into the classroom but also as they enter the building that the classroom is in, this takes form in a number of different ways. We must make sure all that the building conforms to health and safety rules, which include making sure that the fire exits are accessible and sign posted, all stairs are free from clutter, lifts are working and that electrical equipment are in good safe working order etc. Once that we are sure that the building is up to standard we can concentrate on the classroom. As a facilitator we must make sure that the room is adequate for the lessons and the subject matter that we are going to undertake in there. We must make sure that the room is safe and there are not things such as hazards or loose wires that could injure, and also that the equipment that we are to use is in good order, free from any damage that may affect the equipment or injure the student. Another important part of making the room fit for teaching is to make sure that the students feel comfortable in it, making sure that the heating or air conditioning is working so that it will not get too hot or cold both of which can affect the concentration and therefore the learning of the student.
We must also make the classroom a physically safe place for our learners to be in. It is important that at the start of a course or lesson that ground rules are set out so that everybody in the classroom are working together to create a safe friendly learning environment. As I work with adults these ground rules can be discussed and established with the students, so that it would be more plausible that they will adhere to the rules. If these rules are then broken they can be reminded that it was them who set them, and agreed to them. Included in them are issues such as no swearing bulling, respect, tolerance and respecting each other amongst others. There rules must be also respected by the teacher as this will provide a good example.
All the measures that are put in place should help make the learning environment a mentally and physically safe place for not only the learner but also the teacher /facilitator.
Learning is a very social experience where students from a variety of different background, cultures, experiences, beliefs and needs come together and interact with each other. It is therefore important that not only are we open minded to others experience etc. we also make the experience as enjoyable as we can and promote a comfortable and safe environment so that all the students feel as if they can express their opinion and join in any discussions. As stated previously it is important to avoid any animosity, disrespectful behaviour and any kind of discrimination at the very beginning of a course by setting ground rules early on. We must also challenge any form of discrimination so that we maintain fairness, decency and respect in the classroom between students and also between the teacher and the students. In this way we will create a safe and relaxed environment that will promote motivated and focused students that will feel comfortable to participate, share opinions, be involved and ask questions. This will allow them to learn effectively and achieve their potential