Affective Environment

How learners feel in the classroom makes a significant difference to how they behave and how they learn. A positive, safe environment can be created and maintained, systematically and deliberately. 

Training in positive practices

 

Affective Environment

Behavior Watch: Is Alfie Kohn Conning You? (Daniels A undated) The Aubrey Daniels Institute website

Aubrey Daniels takes a well-deserved scalpel to the appealing, but ultimately destructive, myths propagated by Alfie Kohn in particular the idea that conditionality is coercive. Daniels argues forcefully that “all behaviour that matters is conditional”. Daniel also points out the shakiness of the ‘research’ that Kohn uses to support his opinions.

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How Do Teachers' Expectations Affect Student Learning: Extract from Motivation to Learn: Integrating Theory and Practice (Stipek D 2001) education.com

This extract explores the literature on how teachers react to students who have been labelled. It is a very readable yet challenging analysis of the conscious and unconscious ways in which teachers tend to respond to labels rather than learners. The consequences for learners are profound. 

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Effects of Labeling Students 'Learning Disabled': Emergent Themes in the Research Literature 1970 though 2000 (Osterholm K, Nash W R & Kritsonis W A 2007) Focus on Colleges, Universities, and Schools 1(1) retrieved from nationalforum.com

This literature review of studies over the course of 30 years examines the effects of labelling students as learning disabled. The report concludes that, whether or not labels are useful, “applying a diagnostic label to an individual is a profound decision that affects the rest of his or her educational career and life.”

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The cultural myths and the realities of teaching & learning (Nuthall, G 2001) University of Canterbury, NZ Jean Herbison lecture retrieved from Ministry of Education, NZ website

Graham Nuthall highlights the lessons that he learned over several decades as a researcher. In particular, he challenges teachers to gain a greater sense of students’ experiences of education, suggesting that we often operate on inaccurate assumptions.

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Clear Teaching (Barbash S 2012) Education Consumers Foundation

Shepard Barbash’s account of how Direct Instruction developed, and why it is so successful, also explains how much this success affects students’ experience of school and their self-concept as learners.

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Creating classroom cultures that foster reading motivation (Gambrell L 1996) The Reading Teacher 50(1) 14-25

This readable summary of research into reading motivation, and the classroom practices that foster it, is a useful guide for any teacher interested in helping students to engage with greater depth and breadth in their reading. 

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Motivation Part 1: about motivation;
Motivation Part 2: improving motivation;
Motivation Part 3: assessing motivation (Professional Development for the Oregon K-12 Literacy Framework undated) Center on Teaching and Learning, Oregon Department of Education website

This presentation argues: “Older students, as well as struggling readers, frequently lose motivation to read as texts become more complex and demanding.” Practical strategies to re-engage learners and to improve their experience of school are outlined.

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Motivating Reluctant Readers (Education World undated)

This website provides a wide range of resources and ideas for motivating and engaging students of all ages. While there might be debate about which are more or less effective, a range of approaches will be needed to reach a range of students, and this page provides a good starting point to plan your own strategy. 

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Drop Everything and Read - but How? (Hasbrouck, J 2006) The American Educator, Summer 22-31, 46-47 Retrieved American Federation of Teachers website

The article discusses the de-motivation that common classroom reading strategies may have for students who lack decoding, comprehension or fluency skills. It also provides suggestions for appropriate ways to build fluency so that reading is more enjoyable.

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What Reading Does for the Mind (Cunningham A E and Stanovich K E 2001) Journal of Direct Instruction 1 (2) 137-149 retrieved from California State University, Northridge website

The importance of reading success in ensuring that students develop both academic proficiency and affective security are demonstrated in this important study.

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Helping or Hovering? Effects of Instructional Assistant Proximity on Students with Disabilities (Giangreco M F, Edelman S W, Luiselli T E & MacFarland S Z C 1997) Exceptional Children 64 (1) 7-18 retrieved from maureenmcquiggan.com website

Regardless of good intentions, how adults interact with students can have many unforeseen consequences for their experience of school. What seemed like helping behaviours to adults were often disempowering for the children, leading to lower quality instruction, limited interaction with teachers, isolation from peers, and lower self-expectations.

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MUSEC Briefing - Teacher Aides (Stephenson, J Macquarie University Special Education Centre 2006) MUSEC Briefings: Issue 8

This briefing summarises key issues around the use of teacher aides (LSAs) in classrooms and concludes that without appropriate training, for both teachers and support staff, the practice may be of limited or even negative value.

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Effects of teacher attention on digit reversal (Hasazi, J & Hasazi, S 1972) Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 5(2) 157-162 retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov website

This early study showed that teachers may inadvertently encourage student failure by giving attention for the wrong contingencies. Skillful teachers can shape students’ behavior by thoughtful analysis of their interactions, without being manipulative. 

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Direct Instruction is Developmentally Appropriate (Kozloff, M A; Bessellieu, F B 2000) Watson School of Education, University of North Carolina at Wilmington retrieved from special.edschool.virginia.edu

This article considers various statements by educationalists about what constitutes developmentally appropriate practice, and shows how Direct Instruction programmes have benefits for children emotionally, socially and academically.

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Myths About Direct Instruction and Research That Refutes Those Myths (Tarver, S undated) University of Wisconsin retrieved from schoolinfosystem.org

A short summary challenging the main myths and misconceptions about Direct Instruction, including those which allege it is ‘oppressive’, ‘drill and kill’ and a barrier to creativity.

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Exceptional Teaching for Exceptional Children (White O R and Haring N G 1980) Charles Merrill

Although not easy to obtain, this comprehensive text provides a host of lucidly organised information on ways of addressing even the most profound learning difficulties. Beneath all this practice lies a clear ethical framework that values people regardless of their abilities or disabilities. (This links to Amazon, not an article).

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Training in positive practices