Children learn best when and where they feel safest and happiest. To a large extent, either consciously or unconsciously, any learning environment’s tone is determined by the teacher in the room.
At Head Held High, we’re lucky enough to enjoy a natural advantage when it comes to being able to create a positive learning environment for our students.
That’s because the nature of speech and drama is such that it lends itself to fun, playfulness and exploring our creative sides.
It is by consciously creating this positive learning environment that we as teachers are able to stimulate and encourage our students towards the magic that speech and drama can create.
A positive learning environment is essential for our students to be able to achieve the learning outcomes we all want for them (and it makes our jobs so much more enjoyable!).
Growth from perseverance and encouragement
As adults, many of us actively tried to avoid failure the majority of the time.
However, in the speech and drama world, small and managed failures makes us better. They’re part of a positive learning environment, and encouraged.
Performances that do not go as planned can be evaluated, and we can learn what made the great performances stand out.
Many children don’t naturally handle setbacks well. However as speech and drama teachers we create a welcoming environment that helps our students learn how to handle disappointment in small doses.
Whether playing acting games, reading aloud, performing poems or improvising a scene, often children feel fear or anxiety doing these things in front of their peers.
However, with careful guidance and by matching the complexity of the task or game to the individuals, we allow students to make decisions and take risks in our classroom without the fear of ridicule or harm.
Knowing they have permission to fail, to learn from it (and often to laugh at it) is a powerful tool to give children to develop self-confidence.
More Than Just a Classroom
Developing a strong and fun-based student-teacher relationship is a top priority for us at Head Held High.
We make a point of knowing our students’ interests, goals and dreams, even those goals that don’t relate to speech and drama.
Our students get to know our stories too. As teachers we want our students to feel that they can count on us for more than just instruction. They can rely on us for fun, empathy and guidance.
We look forward to hearing about our students’ weeks and the things that they have enjoyed. Hearing about who our students are outside of their speech and drama lessons is very important to us.
We also know that sharing our lives can help your students grow. We tell them who we are and share appropriate stories from our lives to help them with their speech and drama challenges.
Being seen as people, not just teachers, helps our students to know that we’re relatable. And relatability is a vital ingredient in any recipe for a positive learning environment.
At Head Held High, small class sizes help our students by ensuring they get devoted attention from us as teachers, every lesson.
Our Junior (group) lessons are capped at 5 students, and our Intermediate and Senior (group) lessons have no more than 3 students in them. Read more about our class sizes here.
To a large degree, the growth a student experiences from speech and drama lessons depends on the ease with which they can ask questions and get thoughtful and personalised answers.
Large class sizes stymie that possibility. Small class sizes promote it.
Speech and drama and ‘factory-settings’ positivity
Speech and drama, when taught well, is an inherent exercise in positivity. Speech and drama is a performing art that’s built around learning ways to be more confident, expressive, playful and experimental.
As teachers, we simply follow the lead that speech and drama itself sets for us.
We ourselves aim to be confident, expressive, playful and experimental.
But more importantly, we are constantly striving to create that positive learning environment within our classrooms, for our students.
After all, with everything that’s happening in 2020, we can all use as much positivity as we can get!