Positive Learning Environments


This short video focusses supporting behaviour and learning by setting up the classroom’s physical environment in the best way.

Too much clutter can affect the learning experience and invite behavioural issues. Strategies such as delivering positive reinforcement and managing student location is key. Alongside accessing the right materials and considering what it presents on the walls, presenting materials in the right way and giving the right kind of feedback is all fundamental to success.

Giving good thought to the learning environment is an essential strategy for a teaching assistant. How do you lay out your classrooms and have you thought about the impact they are having on the children’s experience?


Speaker 1 (00:07):

Organize the physical classroom. You can support positive behavior and learning by organizing classroom furniture, materials and activities. To set up the classroom’s physical environment, start with a clean uncluttered room. Then position desks, chairs and bookshelves so that you’re able to move freely and monitor students.

Speaker 1 (00:30):

This teacher has arranged the room so that he can see and reach all the students in the room. Too much clutter makes movement and monitoring difficult. Areas that are out of sight invite behavior problems. When you can reach every student, you can easily deliver positive reinforcement or nip problems in the bud. Consider placing students who need extra support in closer proximity to you, that way you can give immediate reinforcement and feedback.

Speaker 1 (01:04):

Now let’s talk about materials. Students are more engaged and better behaved when they’ve been provided access to the classroom materials that they need. This sets up students for success. If you don’t want students to have access to teacher materials, keep the materials out of reach. When you decorate your classroom, strike a balance in the use of signs, posters, artwork and miscellaneous objects. Too little can make a classroom seem cold and uninviting, too much can be overstimulating.

Speaker 1 (01:39):

Now think about activities. Is there a setting for group activities? Is there an area for individual work? Is there a place where students can go to settle down when they’re having a hard time? When you carefully consider the function of furniture, materials and activities, you can design a classroom environment that promotes learning and positive behavior.



www.gov.uk – Department for Education.

www.tda.gov.uk – The Training and Development Agency for Schools

www.childdevelopmentinfo.com – Child Development Institute

www.nhs.uk – NHS

www.teachernet.gov.uk – Teachernet

www.gov.uk – Department for Education.

www.tda.gov.uk – The Training and Development Agency for Schools


Books and Policy Papers


  • Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Primary) (Burnham)  ISBN 9780435032043 (Heinemann 2010)
  • Understanding Schools as Organisations (Handy & Aitken) ISBN 9780140224900 (Penguin Books Ltd 1986)
  • Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Primary) (Burnham)  ISBN 9780435032043 (Heinemann 2010)
  • A Teaching Assistant’s Guide to Child Development (Bentham) ISBN 9780415311083 (Routledge, 2003)
  • Successful School Transition (Dawrent) ISBN 9781855034358 (LDA, 2008)
  • Understanding Children and Young People: Development from 5-18 Years (Lindon) ISBN 9780340939109 (Hodder, 2010)