Creating a Great Learning Environment

Encouraging a Community of Learners

My biggest tool for creating a community of learners is class and small-group discussions. Class discussions provide students the opportunity to share their ideas and ask questions while establishing relationships and developing the ability to seek their own answers rather than relying on the teacher for them. If I notice a common problem that the students are struggling with individually, I bring it forward to a class discussion so they can collaborate and solve it together. This and other strategies can be found on Making Learning Visible at


Promoting Student Engagement

A good strategy to promote student engagement is allowing the students to create their own lists of educational goals/learning objectives. For example, at the beginning of the year/semester, have the students write down three major, but specific, educational goals they want to achieve (i.e. “Be able to write a good research paper” or “Improve sentence variety”). At the end of the year/semester, have them look back on their goals to see how far they have come to achieve them. This enhances the students’ self-belief and makes them feel more in control of their own education and aware of what they need to learn and improve upon. This strategy was developed using “10 Ways to Promote Student Engagement” by Maryellen Weimer, PhD, at

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