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Creating a supportive learning environment

Effective teachers create a supportive learning environment by negotiating classroom expectations. They encourage discussion by developing protocols that value students’ opinions, and provide opportunities for students to introduce and debate diverse ideas and cultural perspectives with consideration and respect.

In geography this could involve:

  • Students participating in the planning of the geography programme and selection of contexts for investigation, for example, giving students the opportunity to suggest specific contexts for study within broad themes such as extreme natural events or urban patterns.
  • Being flexible in adapting teaching programmes to respond to students’ expressions of interest, for example, changing the context of the global study to a topic that is current.
  • Discussing alternative assessment methods with students, for example, presenting perspectives by role playing or making a documentary on a local issue.
  • Modelling teaching and learning as an inclusive process – encouraging dialogue and valuing the contribution of student and community knowledge and expertise.
  • Promoting an interactive classroom environment.

General information about how to construct a supportive learning environment can be found in the section Effective pedagogy (p. 34) of New Zealand Curriculum. See also the Social Sciences Best Evidence Synthesis.

Last updated August 20, 2019