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EDAC316

Group Assignment – Positive Learning Environment

We believe that our students have the right to a democratic environment that
respects their agency for learning and nurtures emotional wellbeing. Our learning
environment is influenced by Choice Theory and Humanism Theory intending to
strengthen children’s self-esteem through experiences promoting belonging,
autonomy and happiness. As teachers, we aspire to maintain socio-culturally
sensitive practices, ensuring advocacy for each individual and unique child.

Introduction
Foundation Year is an exciting but formidable experience for children as they
transition from the heavily play-based environment of kindergarten to the more
structured lifestyle of primary school. When designing our learning environment,
we wanted to acknowledge and meet the expected curriculum but also wanted to
ensure we were adhering to our vision for a democratic learning space. In this
specific indoor learning space, we are intertwining literacy experiences that are
appropriate for this age group defined by the Australian Curriculum within an
environment that guides humanistic and choice practices under a socio-cultural
principle with the goal to strengthen the children’s self-esteem.

Identify the features of your environment


There is a saying that the environment is the ‘third teacher’ in the room and this is
exceptionally prominent within this learning space. Permanently situated in the
room is a table designed specifically for continuous literacy learning. Throughout
the year, the content of the table will reflect the current level of expected student
achievement to assist with the revision of literacy skills, however, the table will
always be present to ensure the children are provided opportunities to approach
when interested. In this case, the literacy table offers a short writing activity that
asks children to draw a recent event and then write what has happened. This is
identifying that the children are able to use images in conjunction with text to
represent events to demonstrate their beginning writing knowledge using familiar
words (ACELY1651) (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority,
2018). All-round the Literacy Table is set up to be functional for the age group of
children by having resources readily available and clipboards to allow the students
the choice to sit either at the table or somewhere more stimulating for the task at
hand. By offering a more open-ended space within the whole learning
environment for Foundation Year warrants positive behaviour guidance from
teachers as students feel trusted to explore independently without the traditional
demands that commonly inhibit a school environment (Catron, & Allen, 2013). The
success of this set up is that the resources and positioning offer a diverse range of
learning within the corresponding general capability of literacy to ensure students
are learning content that is purposeful and relevant to the current curriculum but
within a space the prompts individualised scheduling.

How do they link to your vision


The Literacy Table is heavily inundated with Choice Theory and Humanism Theory
practices by providing children a sense of ownership over their own involvement,
which is to be guided by their own interests and skill level. The Education (General
Provisions) Act 2006 states that schools have a responsibility to promote a safe
and supportive learning environment that recognises the child’s educational
needs, and this is upheld within this space by providing students with the
opportunity to enhance their literacy skills through autonomous means (Porter,
2016). The most important philosophical aspect of this space is recognising effort.
The positive consequence of students motivating themselves to take autonomous
responsibility in their own learning by developing sense of worth through
encouragement from the inviting environment (Porter, 2016). To inflate our
students’ self-esteem further, we ensured an accessible nature to cultivate this
learning space so students used their agency to support self-efficacy in their
literacy development and in turn, create a habitual skill of responsibility for lifelong
learning (McNaughton, & Williams, 2013; Porter, 2016; Churchill, Godinho,
Johnson, Keddie, Letts, Lowe, Mackay, McGill, Moss, Nagel, Shaw, Ferguson,
Nicholson, & Vick,2016). As outlined in the Education (General Provisions) Act
2006 and sustained by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, children should feel trust
within their own space to share their perspective and reach their academic
potential through equitable and benevolent means (Porter, 2016; Churchill, et al.,
2016). The Literacy Table adheres to this be abiding by sociocultural principles of
acknowledging the diverse learning abilities of children and through a flexible and
approachable strategy, the space is creating opportunities for extended learning
when the child is ready; emphasising a since of belonging, autonomy, and
acceptance (Porter, 2016; Honan, 2010).

Discuss some of these: Physical, Temporal, Cultural, Social, Ecological, Aesthetic


The beauty of this activity is the temporal, cultural, and social aspects that
influence the positivity of the learning environment. Temporally, there will be a
sense of limited time within the activity, however this is not dictated by the teacher
but by the student as they have control over how long and the level of interest in
the space to ensure that each child is engaging in their own flow to produce
quality and purposeful work (Porter, 2016; Department of Education, 2018). As
mentioned before, this particular learning experience has a heavy cultural aspect
as the literacy table relies upon a child’s own culture to extend the task. By
drawing upon a child’s own circumstances, the bridge between home and
learning is strengthened which creates a positive and inclusive learning
environment as they are able to extend their skills in a context that is familiar to
them (Porter, 2016; Arthur, et al., 2016; Hall, 2010; Cefai, & Allen, 2017).
Furthermore, as the space is developed for revision of learning, students are
encouraged to take their pieces home to share with families (Arthur, et al., 2016).
While the space is independently dictated, social interaction between children is
encouraged, thus the room for multiple students at once and the accommodating
clipboards. Encouraging highly social interaction assists in the sharing of
children’s own culture and provides the opportunity for discussion of their work to
consolidate their sequencing and henceforth, strengthening their sense of worth
and academic self-esteem (Churchill, et al., 2016; Cefai, & Allen, 2017;
MacNaughton, & Williams, 2013; Porter, 2016).

Conclude
The Literacy Table within a Foundation Year environment has positive
repercussions on the students’ learning and self-esteem as it draws upon Choice
Theory and Humanism Theory through the predictability of always being offered
in the room, however the flexibility of being utilized when the students deem
interested and invested. By reflecting the current literacy curriculum, students are
able to academically reflect and revise in a space which respects their temporal,
cultural and social needs. For that reason, students are strengthening their self-
esteem within an environment that promotes autonomous learning by creating a
sense of belonging through a space that encourages the development of self-
efficacy skills and motivated by socio-cultural practices.