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Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

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Students who feel comfortable in the classroom setting and who have some positive rapport with the professor are more likely to have an enriching learning experience. Students often surpass normal course expectations if they feel very positive about the learning climate. In the long run, professors will foster more learning by devoting time, especially during the first few classes, to creating a supportive environment. The following suggestions may be helpful in establishing the kind of environment that will facilitate students' learning and make your experience as a professor more comfortable as well.

  • Learn students' names.
  • Provide non-verbal encouragement.
  • Avoid being judgmental of students.
  • Relate to students on a personal level.
  • Provide specific positive reinforcement.
  • Treat your students as adults.
  • Make yourself available. Post your office hours, and announce ahead of time any changes.
  • Never humiliate a student.
  • Be as positive as possible.
  • Try to understand the cause of inattentive behaviours.
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