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How Does Surroundings Affect Students Learning?

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    Do you know that the setting in which students learn can affect their performance? For example, the tone of your surroundings can either help or hinder someone's ability to retain information. 

    For example, if you are surrounded by constant distractions, paying attention and focusing on what is being taught will be hard. If this happens often, it could have a negative effect on grades because not enough time may have been put into the learning process. 

    Studies show that your surroundings affect how you learn. So you should choose a place to study that is quiet and free of distraction. If it's too noisy, then wear earplugs or headphones with music on low volume. 

    My bed is the best choice for me because I don't have any other distractions there, but if your family lives in the same house as you, studying at home may not be possible.

    Many people have different learning styles, and the way a person learns can be greatly affected by their surroundings. So what might seem like a harmless change to one learner could be devastating for another. 

    This is why a teacher must understand each student's individual needs in order to provide them with an engaging learning experience. In this blog post, we'll discuss how students' environment affects their learning style and what teachers should do about it so they can give all of their students the best chance at success.

    How Does Teachers Learning Style Affect On Teaching Practice? 

    Contribution

    In a lifelong learning perspective, school education aims to help children to:

    • Build a metacognitive way of thinking;
    • Acquire critical competencies;
    • Participate actively to the development of society.

    Teaching based on metacognitive strategies intends to promote greater control of cognitive and behavioural activities, as many authors have long highlighted (Brown & Palinscar, 1986; Kaniet & Aram, 1993; Cornoldi, 1996). 

    In this perspective, it is important to know how students learn and how teachers learn: how they learn influences how they teach (Coombs Richardson, Arker, 2010).

    “Learning styles” refer to individual differences in cognitive functioning and academic skills. This concept reflects differences in teacher’s personality, genetic and experiential differences. It mediates between motivation and emotion, on the one hand, and cognition, on the other. 

    Learning styles are the preferred mode according to which different individuals learn; the more specific terms may be regarded as the predisposition to adopt a particular learning strategy regardless of the specific characteristics of the task. Keefe (1979) defines learning styles as the «composite of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment». 

    Since the eighties of the last century, several studies have been carried out on these issues (Kolb, 1984; Dunn & Dunn, 1999). However, a serious lack in methodology can be highlighted in this research field for the difficulty to identify and measure cognitive styles.

    It is in the discussion, then, if these measures are really indicative of cognitive traits stable and generalized. From a practical point of view, it is important to learn how to use different strategies according to the tasks and situations at school, acquiring adequate cognitive flexibility. 

    So, many educational programs are designed to help teachers support pupils towards learning goals through knowledge and control of their cognitive functioning. Fewer studies concern variables related to teachers, their representations and their learning styles.

    The possible correlation between teachers’ and pupils’ styles has an important role in teaching effectiveness and in educational outcomes instead. What happens when teachers learn and teach in a way that is not in line with the pupils’ learning style? There are some differences between school levels? Starting from this framework, this study aims to:

    • Invite teachers to know their own teaching and learning styles;
    • Reflect on how teaching and learning styles affect their teaching practice.

    Method

    This is an explorative study based on teachers’ styles and implications in teaching practice. Three questionnaires have been administered to 54 teachers of pre-primary, primary and high school. 

    The first instrument is the “Questionnaire of metacognition and attention” «QMAI» teacher version (Marzocchi, Poli & Molin, 2000). 

    This questionnaire aims to explain how teachers perceive attention, how they promote pupils’ attention, and what kind of strategies they use to deal with attention deficit in their classroom. Collected answers have been differentiated according to two variables: teachers’ years of experience and school level. 

    The second tool is “The Learning Styles Questionnaire” (Mariani, 2000), that involves three areas: - sensory modalities; - cognitive styles; - choosing between individual and collaborative work. The aim of the questionnaire is to gather information about teachers’ learning styles, The questionnaire aims at their way of teaching in relation to their individual profiles. 

    The third tool is “The Teaching styles Questionnaire” (Mariani, 2000). It helps to choose and reflect on the best teaching style for making instructional design and teaching practice changes according to each classroom context. 

    It encourages reflection and discussion between teachers and students, helps students be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and uses effective strategies. Again, a descriptive analysis of variables (absolute and relative frequencies) has been realized.

    Expected Outcomes

    This study confirms the importance of metacognitive teaching, exalting teachers’ abilities to promote student’s involvement in designing, implementing and assessing lessons. So, the most important thing for teachers is to value individual differences in the class from students’ differenfor for teachers ces in grasping cognitive tasks. 

    Research results show that there is a correlation between learning and teaching styles. Teachers preferences in relation to certain strategies influence the choice of educational models. Teachers’ strategies should be more or less functional to pupils’ learning characteristics. 

    Therefore, it is important to investigate the relationship between pupils’ learning performance and teachers’ teaching styles. Teachers’ styles are related to learning styles, and teachers’ teaching stylesetacognitive perspective, the differentiation of teaching and learning processes within classrooms, more and more characterized by super-diversity (Vertovec, 2007), is important for the improvement of teaching effectiveness. 

    Using learning-styles-based teaching is useful to differentiate instruction: identifying students’ learning approaches can help teachers implement different strategies for the benefit of different learners. «Differentiated instruction has become part of every school system’s lexicon, but without learning styles as its cornerstone, no one knows how to differentiate instruction or on what to base differentiation» (Dunn & al., 2009, 139). 

    Moreover, these aspects are closely linked to teachers’ representations of teaching, the school, and the relationship with the students. Therefore, the approach to teaching is an important variable to define the quality of the school and should be a key content for professional development.

    How To Participate In Class And Why It’s Important

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    We can all remember a time in class when we hoped the teacher or professor wouldn’t call on us. Our fear of saying the wrong thing and sounding silly in front of our classmates is a strong deterrent from raising our hands and volunteering to speak in front of others. In fact, when given a choice, most students choose to fly under the radar and avoid the embarrassment of speaking in front of their peers. 

    This is unfortunate because, while sometimes scary, class participation is necessary for getting the most out of an education. Participation actively engages students with the subject matter, pushes them to create concepts, and forces them to show evidence for their claims. Put simply, it makes students work harder. Moreover, a college education is expensive. So why not get the most out of it?

    Students that regularly participate in class are constantly involved with the material and are more likely to remember a greater portion of the information. Active class participation also improves critical and higher-level thinking skills. Students who participate in class have studied the material well enough to introduce new concepts to their peers. 

    This level of thinking goes beyond simple comprehension of text and can also improve memory. Participation can also help students learn from each other, increasing comprehension through cooperation. This can, in turn, improve relationships between students and between the student and professor.

    Avoiding Class Participation

    Despite the many benefits of class participation, the vast majority of students do not regularly contribute to their classes. There are several reasons why students choose not to participate in class, including class size, time, and course policies. 

    Larger classes, for example, have been shown to increase public speaking fears, as students struggle with the idea of sharing their ideas in front of a large group of people. With that in mind, colleges that encourage their faculty to focus on teaching rather than research are more likely to experience higher participation rates, as professors are more engaged with their students.

    Encouraging Class Participation

    A professor’s attitude toward his or her students can dramatically affect class participation in one direction or another. Students are more likely to participate in class if they have a comfortable relationship with their professors. This means that the professor does not write off the student’s response or contribution. 

    This also means that the professor is patient with all his or her students, listens to every response with attention, and provides positive and constructive feedback. Professors can increase participation by creating a safe and respectful class environment. They can also improve the situation by learning their students’ names to feel that their opinion is valued.

    Course policies drastically affect participation. Studies show a greater level of participation when students’ contributions were factored into their final grade. In some courses, professors require participation and include it in every student’s final grade. Participation can mean anything from asking questions to leading discussions. In other classes, professors simply take mental notes of their students’ involvement and contribution to the subject matter.

    How To Participate In Class?

    There are ways to overcome the fear of participation. First, establish a relationship with your professor. It’s ok, to be honest, and explain you have a fear of public speaking. Second, construct a plan to move forward. 

    Third, find a participation method that works for you, whether that’s asking thought-provoking questions or commenting on the reading. Prepare yourself for success by summarizing the material you would like to share with the class. Next, work your opinion into the discussion so you can demonstrate a higher level of thinking that goes beyond simply reading the assigned material. 

    Finally, provide some evidence as to how you came to your opinion or conclusion. This will show your peers and your professors that you have made an effort to understand the subject. Again, preparation is key, so practice on your own before class. Saying it once aloud will ease the pain of saying it in front of your peers.

    How A Student's Home Life And Biological Factors Affect Their Education And Development

    When educators leave their classroom after a day's work with their students, they know that their class is going home to cultures, routines, and interactions that are both diverse among themselves and different from the classroom. 

    Whether you work in the inner city or a suburban private school, research has found that home life and a child's genetic background deeply affect your students' educational progress and ability to develop into global citizens. 

    Two broad categories of research about student progression has surfaced in recent years: child development from a scientific research-based standpoint and the impact of environmental and psychological factors on development.

    Science Shows Why Home Trauma Hinders Children's Ability to Learn

    A research study entitled "Children, Brain Development, and Criminal Law" conducted by the U.K.-based Economic and Social Research Council found that child development is strongly affected by something they term traumatic brain injury (TBI)—the source of the neurological impact that is seen when a child is exposed to a rough or violent home life. 

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    They explain that when a child is presented with violence or trauma in the home, the brain responds with "hypervigilance" to perceived threats. This hypervigilance hardwires the child to respond to any problem with risk behaviour or heightened impulsivity. Even within a secure classroom setting, these factors continue to hinder the child's ability to adapt socially, slowing or blocking academic progress.

    Genetic disadvantages to learning are discussed in the book "How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance," which includes research supporting several different theories that explain behaviour differences in children. 

    One approach is based on epigenetics, a new subfield of genetics that studies the heritable changes in gene function that occur in the DNA sequence. This meaning that some individuals are genetically coded to have behavioural or developmental issues, and some are not. 

    Behavioural geneticists have found that "30-50 percent of our behaviours" derive from these changes. These researchers believe that some child development phenomena can be explained by the combination of genetic disposition with challenging environmental factors, a theory that may resonate especially for teachers who work in low socioeconomic areas. 

    Environmental Factors at Home

    Beyond these new scientific findings, several key issues in home life are known to affect a child's educational progress in school. The most common findings from the research literature are summarized in an article entitled "What are the Effects of the Home Environment on Learning?" posted on the Livestrong site:

    Parental support influences children's ability to cope with failure and pressure, affecting their classroom success. Conversely, positive home learning experiences, such as trips to the library and encouraging play with letters and numbers, can strengthen students' resilience in the classroom. 

    Children of responsive and involved parents are likely to perform better in schoConversely, successcess can be hindered if a child's education ends in the classroom and there are no at-home learning opportunities. 

    Chidren in a two-parent, intact household are more likely to apply and be admitted into college. While a divorce may be unavoidable, co-parenting can be highly valuable to the child's development. Students' feelings of negative pressure, anxiety, and depression based on their family life significantly impact their studies. 

    While research circles have discussed other factors over the years, one enduring focus for educators in the classroom is to be mindful of the individual students they nurture each year. The teacher who personalizes interactions and gives students hands-on attention will better understand how they learn and mitigate the impact of challenging home life and other environmental factors to achieve greater success in school. 

    Research has shown that an engaged learning environment increases students' attention and focus, promotes meaningful learning experiences, encourages higher levels of student performance, and motivates students to practice higher-level critical thinking skills.

    The learning environment dramatically affects the learning outcomes of students. Schools' open space and noise, inappropriate temperature, insufficient light, overcrowded classes, misplaced boards and inappropriate classroom layout all make up factors that could be confounding variables distracting students in class.

    Environmental factors have significant effects on pupil and teacher well-being. Poor quality lighting, ventilation, acoustics and furniture all have a negative effect on student achievement and health.

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