Creating a Positive Learning Evironment

I watched a video from the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness through the University of Saskatchewan for this blog post.  I have included the video in this post for those interested in it.

The most significant piece of information I took away from the video is the importance of recognizing one’s students as unique, complex individuals with a variety of life experience.  Each person is in a class for a reason, and each person has some level of both desire and potential to learn.  One educator in the video shared that they like to get to personally know their students, and understand their educational background and a little bit of personal history so that the students understand that their instructor places value in them.  Another comment that was made was that it is important to acknowledge and reward in some small way a student’s contribution to discussion.  The example shared was using responses such as “that’s a great question,” or, “you raise an interesting point.”  No matter what the question or point was, regardless of accuracy, it can be used to further the discussion.  Part of the discussion could be using an incorrect point made by a student to guide students to understanding the correct answer.

Another example shared was that in order to foster a positive learning environment, an instructor should be willing to acknowledge personal error.  I know from personal learning experience that I myself have significantly more respect for an instructor that is willing to admit that they don’t know an answer or provided an incorrect answer to the class earlier than an instructor that seems to view themselves as infallible and does not acknowledge their mistakes.

In my classroom, I will be open about my personal experiences.  I have gone through nursing education and worked as a nurse for two years, so I understand the challenges associated with it.  I found that instructors that were accessible and with their personal experiences of success and failure were much more relatable; later it was easier to share honest self-evaluations with them.  With my students, I will share specific examples of both my areas of success and areas where I either made a mistake or needed to improve.  One specific learning experience working as a new nurse stuck with me.  I missed administering a very strong, scheduled painkiller to a patient who experienced extreme pain when the medication wore off.  Because they missed a sheduled dose, they woke up in significant discomfort in the middle of the night.  I learned the significance of monitoring my plans at work in order to provide competent care for my patients, and also adapted my strategy as a result.

Nursing students are often extremely hard on themselves and feel that any mistake is a career-threatening blunder, when in reality all nurses are continually absorbing new information and learning from their mistakes.  I plan to bring this honesty to my teaching in order to create a welcoming, positive environment for my students.


The Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (Producer). (2013). Creating a positive learning environment (Youtube). Retrieved from 

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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