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Creating a Positive and Productive Environment.

By Sarah Gomez

I taught 2nd grade in a public school. Cute right.... not always. The level of support these students needed to not only learn but also grow as a human being was very high. I worked 12 hour days to make sure that the needs of each student and the unrealistic and crazy demands of the district were being met as well.

Having rows and rows of chairs was not realistic because students were not robots, and real life is not multiple choice.

My goal of teaching was to provide options in every aspect of the environment but it was the students job to understand what they needed to do to be a productive learner. For example, I provided students flexible seating in the classroom. This included standing desks, wobble chairs, pillows, yoga balls, lap desks, clipboards, camping chairs, desk chairs and so on. Students were responsible for not only respecting the materials but also respecting their learning time. If they chose a wobble chair and it was too distracting for them they had to choose to get a new seat. If they became a distraction to other and they were not able to make a good choice they broke the contract and I would give them the correct seat.

I provided choices in all aspects of the classroom in break time, learning time, assignments, homework, and even carpet time. In assignments you could see this through open questioning, discussion based lessons that encouraged critical thinking and involved learner. For example, I almost never gave my students "Fill in the blank" or pre-made worksheets. If there were graphic organizers, text features that helped them understand a concept I would include in the lesson how to create this themselves. Then they would be able to choose how to organize their thoughts as the year went on.

Students were not only learning content but also learning about themselves and their needs. My goal was that they could answer these two important questions, "What do I need in order to learn." and "How will advocate for myself so that those are needs met."

My students knew that the classroom, the time we spent together, and their learning were in their hands. If they did achieve the goals that was because they were not being proactive in asking for help. For example, after every lesson I provided a practice session where students had the opportunity to go over what we just learned again. It was completely voluntary. They chose to stay and work on the concept again and ask questions. It was their choice which meant everyone in that review session was motivated to participate and learn.

I have seen a lot of ways this is being included in the work place as well. Companies are creating open workspace, that encourage taking breaks, and letting out energy. Employees are provided with different seating options, they are no longer stuck in lines and small cubicles where they are forced to quietly work. Creativity, uniqueness, and excitement are celebrated!

Productivity is never an accident. It is always a result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort." - Paul J. Meyer

Give your employees a reason to get their work done that is beyond money. Provoke passions, curiosity and love for what they do and you will see them fly.

1 Comment

han gu
han gu
Jul 15

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