book-children-forest

Environmental Factors that Influence Learning

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    The setting in which we are raised can have a positive or negative impact on our capacity to learn. A student's ability to learn may be hindered by negative environmental factors such as poverty and violence, for instance, while positive environmental factors such as a loving family and excellent instructors can assist students in realising their full academic potential.

    With this blog post, I hope to provide you with some helpful hints on how to set up the environments in which your children spend time at home and school so that they promote the healthy development of children's brains. Therefore, what are the most important aspects of both our house and our school that we need to be aware of? What are the components that we are most interested in having? And is there anything that must be avoided at any cost? Keep reading!

    Learning can be affected by a wide variety of environmental factors. Some are under the learner's control, while others are outside of their sphere of influence. This blog post will explore some of these influences and provide suggestions on how to take steps towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle in order to promote better health for those who are in the process of learning.

    By reducing the amount of meat they eat, recycling plastics, installing solar panels on their rooftops, or purchasing locally grown produce from farmer's markets, a person can make positive changes in their environment that are not only beneficial to themselves but also to their community as a whole. However, one's ability to learn is affected by a variety of external factors, such as the quality of the air they breathe, the amount of noise pollution they are exposed to, and the amount of light they are exposed to. Let's take a closer look at each of these environmental influences in the following paragraphs!

    Because the environment has an impact on how humans collect, process, and apply the information they acquire, it is an essential component of the learning process. Therefore, the environment in which people learn can have a significant impact on how effectively they learn.

    For instance, research has shown that children who are exposed to particular kinds of music during their first few years of life have significantly better spatial reasoning skills later in life than children who were not exposed to the same kind of music. This is in comparison to children who were not exposed to the same kind of music. This is true not only of real-world settings, but also of simulated ones; for instance, adults tend to perform better on tasks when they are collaborating with other people as opposed to completing them on their own.

    Environmental Factors that Influence Learning

    Nature or nurture? Which of these has a greater influence on a child's chances of being successful in life?

    This discussion has been going on for decades, but recent research has led scientists to believe that the environment plays a much larger role in determining academic achievement than does genetics.

    This is FANTASTIC news for those of us in the teaching profession, as it indicates that the work that we do does, in fact, make a difference... each and every day. In other words, "High-performing teachers are almost always capable of compensating for the shortcomings of their students who are performing poorly." (Ferguson, 98)

    Someone told me in the past that effective teaching does not require rocket science to accomplish. I concur that it is a great deal more complicated.

    There is no doubt about it: the surrounding environment has a significant impact on the developing brain. Learning and the overall success of students are impacted by a variety of environmental factors; therefore, it is important to examine the factors that carry the most weight.

    Relationships

    First, learning is about relationships.  Relationships between the teacher and students, new content and old content and subject matter content and its application to the real world.

    Students have a lower affective filter, or level of discomfort, when they are in the presence of a teacher who builds positive relationships with them, and as a result, they perform better in the classroom. Similarly, educators who can bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary knowledge while also demonstrating how either can be applied in the real world will have students who are more successful academically.

    Stress

    A little bit of stress can be good as the body releases adrenaline to address it, which in turn stimulates our brain to "fire on all cylinders," if you will.

    However, students who are in chronically stressful environments tend to have lower levels of aptitude, immunity, concentration and comprehension skills.  Why?  The young brain (3-20ish years old), as a result of the overly active amygdala, is especially susceptible to stress and has extreme responses to it.

    Most students can only do two things when stressed, act out or zone out.

    To prevent this negative behaviour and combat stress in the learning environment, consider these ideas:

    • establish routines for certain activities and times of the day, so students know what to anticipate
    • use visuals, project-based learning, discussion, and pre-during-post comprehension strategies, so students are able to learn new skills and put them into practice, which develops competence and confidence
    • build positive relationships with students, so they know you are for them, not against them
    • clearly define and provide examples of how students can be successful in a class by providing rubrics, assignment samples and opportunities for ongoing feedback
    • allow reflection and retakes for large tests and assignments so students can learn from their mistakes and have the opportunity to demonstrate how their proficiency levels increase, even when initially failed

    Sleep

    Students need 9-13 hours of sleep per night.  Period.  They average 6 hours.

    Sleep helps the brain to learn and process new information. It also aids in cell renewal, sugar metabolization, neural connections, immunity, logical reasoning, comprehension and fine motor skills.

    Teach kids healthy sleep habits, such as eliminating caffeine and sugar after 12:00 pm, lowering lights and noise in the evenings and eliminating technology for a few hours before bedtime.

    Exercise

    The development of a young person's brain is said to benefit from at least two hours of strenuous physical activity every day.

    According to the ideas presented in Brain Rules, written by Dr. John Medina, "Food, liquid, and oxygen are the three things that are necessary for human survival. But the timelines at which their effects on survival manifest themselves are very different. It is possible to survive without food for about a month, but only about a week without water. However, because of the high metabolic rate of your brain, you cannot allow it to go without oxygen for more than 5 minutes without putting it at risk of suffering severe and irreversible damage."

    He goes on to say, "Exercise does not provide oxygen and food.  It provides greater ACCESS to oxygen and food via stimulated blood vessels...that penetrate deeper into the body’s tissues.  The more you exercise, the more tissues you can feed and the more toxic waste you can remove.  That's why exercise improves the performance of all functions."

    Encourage your children to get active because physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function. Include energising brain breaks in your lessons as well, so that your students can see and feel how increased oxygenated blood flow helps them concentrate and learn more.

    girl-reading-book

    Nutrition

    Eating healthy foods allows our bodies to function at the highest level. However, processed and sugary foods cause inflammation, leading to decreased blood flow and slowed body functions, decreasing concentration and memory.

    Encourage students to consume plenty of water as well as lean proteins, fibre, fresh fruits and vegetables, and to drink at least half their body weight in ounces worth of water every day. It is very accurate to say that we are the products of the food that we consume.

    Laughter,

    The brain does not discriminate between fake laughter and real laughter.  Both times, the brain will release four "happy" chemicals: serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins.

    These chemicals assist our bodies in improving blood flow, concentration, engagement, memory, production of T cells, and immune function. These chemicals have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure and muscle tension.

    Throughout the day, make your students laugh by telling them funny stories and jokes, and don't forget to laugh, laugh, and laugh some more to achieve greater levels of success.

    Creating Environments To Support Young Children’s Development

    Early childhood is recognised as a critical time for improving the development and wellbeing of children through to their later life. Research shows that many societal outcomes in adulthood (e.g. physical and mental health, criminality and educational outcomes) are rooted in early childhood experiences.

    Because of this, there is a compelling case to be made for investing in this stage of childhood. Additionally, the local government plays a significant role in the process of designing local physical environments that are conducive to the growth and development of young children. This article presents the most compelling evidence currently available regarding the physical environmental factors that have an effect on the development of young children. This may help local governments fulfil their responsibility of having an impact on urban design.

    What Physical Environmental Factors Affect Early Childhood Development?

    There are varying types and quality of evidence on how physical environments affect early childhood development, from strong evidence such as systematic reviews to single studies and case studies.

    Current best available evidence suggests a number of physical environmental factors that influence early childhood development. In this short article, early childhood and young children are defined as under eight years of age in accordance with international standards.

    The Built Environment

    A large Australian evidence review suggests environmental toxins (e.g. traffic-related fine particles) have detrimental effects on neurological development in young children. Infants and young children are more vulnerable to environmental toxins than in later years, and even low levels of exposure can significantly affect their neurological development.

    Children are able to move around more freely in an environment that is less exposed to local traffic, which makes the environment safer and more accessible. This has a positive impact on the growth and development of young children as it increases the number of opportunities for play, unplanned social interactions, and active modes of transportation.

    It is believed that having child-appropriate destinations (such as health and social services, kindergartens, and schools) located in close proximity to the child's home is beneficial to early childhood development for the same reasons.

    However, there is a need for additional research on the connection between aspects of the built environment and the growth and development of children.

    Nature And Open Public Spaces

    Several systematic reviews have identified a positive relationship between green spaces and early childhood development, especially physical and mental wellbeing. In addition, greater access to, or quantity of, nature and public open spaces (such as playgrounds, school grounds, club/pay facilities) can support early childhood development.

    Opportunities for imaginative and daring play, as well as opportunities for social interaction and physical activity, can be found in nature and in public open spaces. This may be of even greater significance for children whose families come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, as more privileged children frequently have access to backyards that provide benefits that are comparable to those offered by less privileged backyards.

    Climate And The Physical Environment

    Warmer temperatures and extreme heat have been associated with poor childhood developmental outcomes.  In addition, young children are more vulnerable to changes in the climate due to their dependence on others to move to a warmer/cooler location, put on a coat or drink water.

    New research suggests that the impact of climate change and weather extremes on children's development should not be overlooked, particularly in light of the increasing negative effects that climate change is having on people's health. This is especially important to keep in mind in light of the fact that climate change is expected to have an even greater negative impact in the future. For instance, it has been demonstrated that parks and other natural areas provide a cooler space during warmer weather, and the canopies that street trees create can provide pedestrians with cooling. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that pedestrians can benefit from the cooling effects of street trees.

    Participation In Urban Planning

    Case studies on urban planning for children emphasise the importance of including children and families in this planning, a strategy that has been promoted by UNICEF. Parents, pregnant women and young children have been under-represented in urban planning processes. Involving children and families in urban planning provide opportunities to create positive physical environments that promote creativity, play and feelings of ownership, which are important elements of early childhood development.

    What Can Municipalities Do To Support Early Childhood Development?

    The local governments are in charge of the urban planning in their respective areas and have the authority to regulate certain environments that are utilised by families with young children. The most recent and relevant research indicates that there are a number of different ways in which local governments can make changes to better support early childhood development, including the following:

    • Promote young children’s ability to interact with the environment. This could be through providing safe, walkable neighbourhoods with low traffic exposure and improving access to and the availability of green, open spaces.
    • Protect young children from environmental harm. This could involve limiting exposure to environmental toxins by reducing high traffic exposure close to child-relevant destinations and providing ideal temperature control in indoor environments young children frequent (child care centres, libraries, swimming pools).
    • Involve families and children in neighbourhood planning. This is not always easy to do, and there are guides available(link is external) on how to implement this.

    Local governments may also need to work with other child-oriented local organisations when creating environments that promote early childhood development.

    Early Developmental Outcomes Of Australian Children From Diverse Language Backgrounds At School Entry 

    Research using the 2009 AEDC data was used to understand the interrelationships between language backgrounds, proficiency in English and early developmental outcomes at school entry.

    Linguistically diverse children who were not yet proficient in English when they began school were significantly more likely to be developmentally vulnerable on four AEDC domains (Physical health and wellbeing; Social competence; Emotional maturity and Language and cognitive skills (school-based)).

    In contrast, linguistically diverse students who entered school with proficient English language skills were slightly less likely to be developmentally vulnerable on Emotional maturity and Physical health and wellbeing domains.

    Bilingual children, therefore, appear to start school with some subtle developmental advantages. Children from English speaking backgrounds also enter school with a range of language skills.

    Children from an English speaking background who were considered not yet proficient in their home language had the highest rates of developmental vulnerability, around twice those of their linguistically diverse peers who were also not yet proficient in English.

    More details on this topic can be found in the research snapshot Early Developmental outcomes of Australian children from diverse language backgrounds at school entry.

    Preschool And The Transition To School 

    Children who attended preschool were less likely to be developmentally vulnerable across all five developmental domains assessed by the AEDC. Preschool programs may provide stimulating and structured learning opportunities that encourage academic and social development and prepare children for school.

    In contrast, higher rates of developmental vulnerability were observed in children who attended day care without participating in a preschool programme, as well as in children who received informal care from non-parents or only received care from their parents. In addition, children from the most economically disadvantaged communities were less likely to attend preschool than children from other communities.

    Whilst preschool had a positive effect on children from both advantaged and disadvantaged communities, there were still higher rates of vulnerability among children living in disadvantaged communities that attended preschool than children from advantaged communities that did not attend preschool.

    The highest rate of vulnerability was among children from disadvantaged communities who did not attend preschool. Research highlights the importance of preschool attendance for promoting strong developmental outcomes and successful school transitions for all children.

    As a result, lower rates of preschool attendance among children from disadvantaged families might be one factor that contributes to early developmental vulnerabilities and inequities. See the research snapshot for more information on the relationship between early childhood education and care and the transition to school.

    Children With Additional Health And Developmental Needs (AHDN) 

    The AEDC measure of early childhood development includes Additional Health and Development Needs (AHDN). The first years of full-time schooling offer new demands, environments and relationships. These can all have lasting implications on a child’s early educational trajectory. Children with AHDN can face extra challenges in primary school.

    This includes meeting the demands of school, fitting in with peers, and obtaining additional resources. Pathways through school for children with AHDN: a conceptual model for understanding the complex processes that can impact school functioning for children with additional health and developmental needs (AHDN) has been developed.

    The model centres on children’s ability to function within their daily environments and the interactions between their functioning and various risk and protective factors. Many of the children who experience difficulty due to AHDN have not received a formal diagnosis either because their condition is not severe enough to reach diagnostic cut-offs or their difficulties are yet to be formally identified.

    It doesn't matter what the diagnosis is; the needs of children dealing with AHDN and the impact their condition has on how well they function in school are both complicated and subject to change over time. However, it is not impossible for a child to succeed in school, and many children who have AHDN do succeed in school. This indicates that it is possible to intervene and help these children achieve better results in their lives.

    Findings suggest that children may experience different levels and types of needs that fluctuate over time and which do not depend on their condition or diagnosis. Rather, children’s needs are determined by their condition’s impact on their functioning and their unique risk and protective factors.

    colored-crayons

    Factors That Help Or Hinder Children With AHDN To Succeed At School 

    Given that the transition period to formal schooling is a critical time that helps to shape long-term educational trajectories, it is important to address risk factors and promote protective factors early in the child’s formal education.

    Current research suggests that many of the risk and protective factors are operating from the earliest experiences at school. A mixture of influences was identified, ranging from the child’s characteristics to the environments in which they are operating, including numerous factors at the service-system level.

    The many protective factors identified suggest it is important to not only describe and respond to children’s limitations but also to acknowledge the child’s capabilities and strengths as well as other protective factors operating at the family and service-system level so that these can be drawn on and developed to help them succeed, these are described in more detail in the research snapshot, Factors that help or hinder children with AHDN to succeed at school.

    Shaping Learning Trajectories For Children With AHDN 

    The results of this research showed that there are three distinct patterns of academic performance that occur throughout the primary school years (beginning at ages 4-5 and ending at ages 10-11): Fifty-two percent of children performed at a level that was relatively close to the average, twenty-five percent of children consistently performed at a level that was below average, and twenty-five percent of children consistently performed at a level that was above average.

    This research aimed to describe the academic trajectories of primary school children with both established and emerging health and developmental conditions whilst also investigating the impact of socio-economic disadvantage on the relationship between AHDN and academic trajectories.

    Children who had either an established or an emerging AHDN, as well as children who came from disadvantaged backgrounds, had a greater likelihood of being on an academic trajectory of average or below average performance. Children who were at risk for developing AHDN and who were already disadvantaged had a greater chance of falling into the low trajectory. Differences in academic development that were already present upon entry into school continued to exist over the course of time.

    The effect of cumulative advantage saw children with strong early academic skills continue to improve over time, whilst children who displayed poor early academic skills fell slightly more behind. However, poor academic outcomes were not inevitable for children with AHDN – a number of children with AHDN were within the highest performing academic trajectory.

    Academic trajectories suggest that early intervention is absolutely necessary for children struggling to improve their educational pathways, and this is especially true for younger children. The discovery that children with AHDN can have high academic achievement lends credence to the possibility that interventions could assist these children in reaching their full academic potential.

    In order to better meet the requirements of children who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, there is a requirement for a greater allocation of resources to be directed towards children who have AHDN and who live in socially and economically deprived environments.

    Environmental factors include temperature, food, pollutants, population density, sound, light, and parasites.
     

    There are a number of the factors that influence an individuals learning like movement, repetition, feedback, stress, and emotions.

    7 Important Factors that May Affect the Learning Process
    • Intellectual factor: The term refers to the individual mental level. ...
    • Learning factors: ...
    • Physical factors: ...
    • Mental factors: ...
    • Emotional and social factors: ...
    • Teacher's Personality: ...
    • Environmental factor:
    Scroll to Top