What are the surface cultural elements of your learning environment? What kinds of things are around you?
Read the following excerpt:
“He emerged into the strangest-looking classroom he had ever seen. In fact, it didn’t look like a classroom at all, more like a cross between someone’s attic and an old-fashioned tea shop. At least twenty small, circular tables were crammed inside it, all surrounded by chintz armchairs and fat little poufs. Everything was lit with a dim, crimson light; the curtains at the windows were all closed, and the many lamps were draped with red scarves. It was stiflingly warm, and the fire that was burning under the crowded mantelpiece was giving off a heavy, sickly sort of perfume as it heated a large copper kettle. The shelves running around the circular walls were crammed with dusty-looking feathers, stubs of candles, many packs of tattered playing cards, countless silvery crystal balls, and a huge array of teacups.” (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (New York: Scholastic Press, 1999), p. 101.)
Above is the description of a fictitious classroom from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the passage, Rowling describes a classroom which is full of possibilities, personalization, and purpose. She highlights key elements of that classrooms culture – the items that line the shelves, the color and temperature of the room, and the size of the tables – and focuses the reader on this new way that learning is about the take place.
We all have a different perspective on what makes a great place to learn. There is no such thing as a perfect classroom but there is great value in thinking about, and sharing, your perspective on what your ideal learning environment would be like.
Using our resources in this unit, write three paragraphs to answer the following question:
What is your ideal learning environment like?
You must include:
- One paragraph on the relationship to the Park University LE Competencies. Choose at least two competencies of the six to incorporate.
- Two paragraphs that answer at least two of the following questions. (NOTE: Not all questions have to be answered)
- What are the surface cultural elements of your learning environment? What kinds of things are around you?
- What are the deep cultural elements of your ideal learning environment? What do people talk about? What do they think about? How do your peers act?
- What does the learning in your ideal environment look like?
- What kinds of assignments exist in your ideal learning environment?
- What kinds of things do faculty do in your ideal learning environment? What kinds of support is given or received?