This post is the fourth in a series of blogs focusing on the comprehensive model of education called “brain-based learning” and the Quantum Learning method that most effectively applies that model. It is our hope that this series will help you to learn more about both the model and the method. Utilizing this methodology in Sunday Church school lessons will enable teachers to heighten the learning ability of each student in their class.
In this part of our series on the brain-based learning program, Quantum Learning, we will explore the third of the five core concepts in this method of teaching. (If you missed our introduction to the program, you can find it here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/brain-based-education-and-quantum-learning-an-introduction/. Brain-based learning is a teaching methodology based on research that helps teachers to be more effective while also helping students to learn in the best way possible.) The five core components of the Quantum Learning System are Foundation, Atmosphere, Environment, Design, and Delivery. All five of these components work together, but even if you are only able to implement one of them in your Sunday Church school class, you and your students will greatly benefit.
The third core concept is that of “Environment.” At the heart of this concept is the idea that even the physical space in which learning happens sends a message to all involved about what is important, so everything there should enhance learning. In the Quantum Learning System, the classroom environment is intentionally designed to support a learning culture. The classroom is inviting and comfortable, but it is also stimulating. Quantum Learning classroom walls feature posters (both inspirational ones and ones that relate to the content being studied) alongside student work. Classroom sounds include music that encourages learning. Props and aromas add interest to the learning environment. Even the physical items and arrangement of the classroom speak: the furniture and decor is intentionally arranged in a tasteful manner, and both plants and lighting add to the environment.
In an Orthodox Church school, educators desiring to create a classroom that supports Quantum Learning will arrange the furniture in their classroom together with plants, lighting, and decor in such a way that promotes a relaxed but energetic environment. They will come prepared to share music that can influence their students’ learning. They will surround the class with beauty, which leads us to God. Posters, student artwork, icons from the Great Feasts, and more can enhance the beauty of a Church school classroom and surround the learners with a “culture” of Orthodoxy that enhances the Church school learning environment.
In future weeks, we will be taking a closer look at the core components of the Quantum Learning system, and offering ways to apply this method in your Church school lessons.
Here are some links related to this component:
“Your classroom environment impacts students’ ability to focus and retain information… Orchestrating the elements in your environment greatly influences your ability to teach more with less effort” (p. 78) There is an entire chapter dedicated to the concept of “Environment” in “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success” by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X
How our classroom is arranged influences class participation. We wrote about that before, and added related links here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2019/10/04/pursuing-church-school-success-encouraging-class-participation/
If you missed it when we wrote about classroom environment before, you may want to check out this blog post and the links attached to it: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/pursuing-church-school-success-evaluate-the-environment/
Does your classroom suggest that God is in that space? Does it feel comfortable and safe to your students? This Methodist-written resource may be helpful as you evaluate your classroom environment in the interest of making it more conducive to learning: https://nccumc.org/christianformation/files/Classroom-Environment.pdf
There are a variety of links at this page that may be helpful for teachers wishing to re-evaluate their classroom environment in the interest of making it even more conducive to learning: Classroom Set-Up Conducive to Learning in Bible Classes
This article offers 17 suggestions for optimizing learning in your classroom, beginning with enhancing the climate of your classroom and reducing stress. It also recommends changing the environment occasionally, to better fit with learning: https://thesecondprinciple.com/optimal-learning/brain-based-education/