TEF: Learning Environment

Learning Environment

This dimension describes how instructors foster a supportive, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for all learners.

Sketch of a person sitting on floor, typing on a laptop, with books beside them.

Key areas of focus:

  • Create and maintain a learning environment that fosters safety, inclusivity, and student success
  • Establish and maintain a professional relationship with students
  • Encourage learners to leverage strengths and improve areas for growth to achieve outcomes
  • Support learners who require specific assistance in engaging in the learning process
  • Adapt or design teaching activities and assessments based on the type of learning environment

Sample Indicators of Effective Practice

The sample indicators are organized into three levels: Involved, Engaged, and Leading. The levels are not dependent on the length of time that one has been an instructor as instructors begin their teaching careers with varied professional and academic backgrounds; however, as one moves from Involved to Engaged to Leading, the complexity of the skills and/or task increases.

Involved

Instructors at this level focus on creating a supportive and collaborative environment for all learners and begin identifying potential barriers to learning and issues of inequity within their learning space(s).

Examples

  • Ensures an inviting learning environment for learners (e.g., acknowledges students as they arrive; invites students to ask questions; uses icebreakers; sets up a few basic course rules with student input).
  • Actively learns about decolonization, anti-racism, and other attitudes important to providing an equitable and inclusive learning environment for all learners.
  • Involves the students with one or two in-class and online activities to engage them in their learning.
  • Identifies conditions that support student learning and appropriate areas of student growth and ensures students are aware of Lethbridge College Student Core Competencies.
  • Identifies students struggling in the areas of academics, attitude, and/or attendance and utilizes the Early Alert (A+) process 
  • Refers to appropriate services within the college to support a diverse range of learners
  • Encourages student collaboration in discussions and other learning activities.
  • Uses appropriate technologies to disseminate information and facilitate communication with and among learners.
  • Aware of different challenges and opportunities available in different learning spaces (online, classroom type, etc.)

Engaged

Instructors at this level ensure an inclusive environment for all learners by mitigating barriers to learning and instances of inequity in their learning space(s).

Examples

  • Creates a welcoming environment of trust that inspires all learners to share knowledge and ask questions; uses classroom-management techniques to maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to learning.
  • Models decolonization, anti-racism, and other attitudes important to providing a robust and equitable learning experience for all learners.
  • Involves learners in a variety of in-class and/or online activities that motivate all learners to be engaged in their learning.
  • Creates opportunities for students to become aware of the conditions that best support their own learning and promotes student growth in some or all Lethbridge College Student Core Competencies.
  • Participates in institutional retention initiatives. 
  • Organizes and adapts all course content to be accessible to a diverse range of learners and applies college guidelines to identify and support learners who need extra support or accommodations.
  • Fosters collaboration and teamwork among students inside and outside of the learning environment.
  • Identifies learning environment technologies, equipment, and space that require(s) maintenance/repair to ensure functional, safe, secure, and clean learning environment.
  • Adapts learning activities to different learning spaces (online, classroom type, etc.).

Leading

Instructors at this level mentor colleagues in creating inclusive environments for all learners and look for opportunities to promote decolonization, anti-racism, and other attitudes necessary to creating and maintaining equitable learning spaces.

Examples

  • Establishes and maintains a respectful, cohesive learning environment that encompasses the diversity of learners; uses classroom management techniques to maintain an interactive and engaging environment.
  • Leads initiatives on and/or mentors colleagues on issues pertaining to decolonization, anti-racism, and other attitudes important to providing a robust and equitable learning experience for all learners.
  • Models a variety of motivational techniques to excite both students and faculty about learning in their subject area.
  • Mentors students to be innovative, creative, and independent within a framework of social responsibility; fosters opportunities for student development of Lethbridge College Student Core Competencies that relate to their future employment plans.
  • Integrates information and processes concerning institutional retention initiatives into teaching practice. 
  • Leads program-level and college-level strategies for supporting a diverse range of learners and demonstrates leadership in responding to individuals and groups of learners in crisis.
  • Encourages students to pursue college-wide collaborative opportunities that might enhance their required learning activities.
  • Shares technological tools used to enhance student learning environment with other instructors.
  • Mentors other instructors in active learning strategies for different learning spaces.