Published On: Sunday, March 20, 2016|Categories: Education Info, Parents, Tenney Subscribers|

Exploring the many options available to you and finding the ideal Learning Environment for your child is an important step in making sure they are receiving the best education for them. A student’s learning environment influences their ability to focus and retain information, both crucial to receiving a high-quality education.

Learning environment also has the power to make or break their schooling experience. A child’s experience in school has the ability to define their view of learning for the rest of their lives. For this reason, it is important that parents and teachers go out of their way to make the school experience of each child a good one.

There are usually five obvious options available when making this choice: public schools, private schools, charter schools, one-on-one homeschooling, and virtual learning.

Each differs with regards to cost, diversity, average class size, amount of stimulation, mode of learning (physical or virtual), curriculum, and the intensity and pace of learning. Each environment has the ability to nurture and produce brilliant minds, and historically too, they all have produced great people.

A lot of parents send their children to state-funded public schools even if they can afford a private school or homeschooling, simply because it is inexpensive (the quality of education is good in public institutions too, especially for the cost), has convenient locations, or they simply did not invest the time and energy into identifying their child’s disposition and researching which mode of learning would best help him grow.

For any parent looking to find the most suitable environment for their child, the fact that your research landed you on our website shows your genuine interest in your child’s well-being! To help you in the selection process and finalizing what you want for your child, we have put together a list of crucial points for you to consider.

Class Size

One of the most important factors when it comes to the ideal learning environment is class size. While every student can benefit from some group lessons alongside scholars with similar interests, most students work best when most of their schooling is done via one-on-one lessons. This ensures the teacher is focused solely on the one student in the room and all lessons are based on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and pace of learning. Large class sizes tend to be detrimental to most—if not all—students, as it is difficult for instructors to focus on all the children in the class and cater to their needs.

At times when the focus of a school’s administration becomes commercial and economical, they start letting go of quality for quantity. In the enthusiasm to expand, class sizes often become larger and denser, making it near impossible for a child to receive any sort of individual attention.

Among the options mentioned above, public schools are more likely to have bigger class strengths. This is because they rely on state funding. Then there’s the fact that most people send their children to public schools. With an increase in class sizes, the effectiveness of instruction does decrease.

Your Child’s Disposition

Is your child extroverted and craves large amounts of stimulation and social interaction? Is that when they are able to function their best and be at their most creative? Or are they more introverted, peace-loving and are able to work better in more low-key and less rowdy environments? There is nothing wrong with either of the two personalities and they are supposed to co-exist in the world like yin and yang. Among the greatest people in history, as many, if not more, were quieter personalities as there were loud ones. But, each of these types finds comfort and are productive in certain types of environments more than others.

Forcing your introverted child into a crowded and boisterous environment like a big public school with large classrooms would be as wrong as putting an extroverted child into an environment which completely lacks social interaction such as one-on-one learning or online learning.  You see, these are not the ideal choices for either of the two dispositions.

One-on-one learning is great for introverted children. Yes, you may wish for your quieter children to be more participative, to learn how to work in groups, and to make themselves heard where they should as these are essential skills too; however, that can still be achieved in a small-sized classroom. This would allow them to learn teamwork and speak in front of groups of people, while not overdoing it in a way that they feel like misfits.

Small-sized classrooms are a good balance not only for introverts but for extroverts too. They provide enough stimulation while also allowing more individual attention.

Similarly, children who tend to be more sensitive, emotional and empathetic, can be outcast or bullied among large groups. Their sensitivity and empathy is to be valued, and thus they would be happier in a more personalized and secure environment where they can be given individual care and attention.

In short, if you leave your children in an atmosphere where they are not happy in their own skin, it will greatly hinder learning. If they are not comfortable and feel they are under some kind of pressure or expectation to fit in and change their core personality, they are likely to lose self-esteem, be too anxious to focus, and thus underperform.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a huge factor when deciding on the best learning environment for a particular child. Many children are very susceptible to the pressures of their friends and classmates, while others may be able to brush such things off without a problem.

Because it is imperative that scholars are focused on their schooling and not the other children around them, it is crucial that parents take their child’s personality into account when looking at class sizes. Too many kids in a classroom often leads to students becoming distracted by social pressures and the desire to fit in or “be cool”. In small class sizes and individual instruction settings this hurdle is virtually removed from the picture, allowing students to leave behind the pressures of other kids and focus on improving themselves instead.

This negative peer pressure is higher in big public schools (although they still provide great infrastructure and learning) because unfortunately (compared to private schools) there are more students there who do not wish to be there. They might just be there for the sake of getting a degree or because their parents put them there by force. Such students not only lack interest in education themselves, but they also distract other students from learning. The dropout rate is also higher in public schools.

In a free, open, and big environment, students are likely to encounter more of these non-serious and delinquent children among themselves. They become the source of a lot of negative peer pressure.

Attention Span

When choosing a learning environment for a young person, the attention span of the student should be taken into account. Some children do well working for 2–3 hours at a time without a break, while others need to work in 15-minute segments with some sort of small break in between. In the traditional classroom setting it is all but impossible to provide each student with the lesson length they require. For this reason, it is important to find a school, class, and teacher that cater to your child’s particular attention span or look for individual instruction for the student.

Individual instruction is often the most logical way to go if your child’s attention span doesn’t conform to what traditional classrooms deem “normal”. This is because teachers working with one student at a time have the freedom to work in blocks of time that take advantage of each child’s best focus time and allow each student the breaks they need to only work when they are at their personal best.

Rigor of instruction

Another important consideration when exploring environments for your student’s learning is rigor of instruction. While some students may need a rigorous school schedule and lesson plan to feel they are moving ahead, others may prefer to take a slightly slower approach so they can really absorb all the information provided. Children who are still working on learning the English language will need a less rigorous approach in order to have time to comprehend lessons in a language that may still feel foreign to them.

Personalized curriculum

This is a very prominent upside of one-on-one learning. It is also a part of the changing trend these days. Every child is naturally more inclined towards and skilled in certain subjects. Instead of the traditional learning approach where children are just forced to stuff “a bit of everything” in a rigid curriculum which is general and unfocused, children should be allowed to customize their curriculum and learn more of what really sparks their interest. No two children are alike, yet they are all made to adhere to the same curriculum. It is like pulling a fish out of water onto land, and then expecting it to survive and be happy.

Many a time, students are not able to perform well in subjects they do not like and end up feeling like failures and suffering from mental issues like depression. If the very same students were to be put in a different environment where they could do what they are most passionate about, they might even outperform all others.

It all comes down to realizing and appreciating that each child is unique. Moreover, parents who realize this and also those who wish for their children to become experts in the field they are passionate about, at a young age, usually prefer one-on-one homeschooling where they can design the curriculum in a way that gives more time and focus to specific subjects. Not to mention that with the completely undivided attention children receive in this mode of learning, they are able to master concepts faster.

A secure and positive environment

This is something every parent should ensure before they enroll their child into a school. You must find out whether the school offers a home-like environment where your child is always well-attended and feels safe.

There are some other questions to ask as well. Does the school have a vibrant and colorful atmosphere, with adequate educational and recreational facilities? Does it have a positive energy that will make your child’s learning experience a pleasant one instead of a chore that he resents getting up for every morning? Are the administration and faculty at the school helpful and kind and do they hold your child’s best interests at heart?

The overall ambience, infrastructure, and the attitude of the stakeholders involved in your child’s education at school, all matter immensely. Do not just pop your child into the nearest school for the sake of convenience. Research thoroughly to find a place that will best nurture your child’s mind and values- for life-long learning!

Every student has a different approach to learning, and it is important that these unique traits are taken into account. This can only truly be done in a one-on-one class setting, and teachers working in a group setting must take every student’s needs into account and attempt to average out the lessons to suit the majority of children in the class. Therefore, if your child requires a pace that is faster or slower than average and has a very hard time adjusting to the pace of a class, it is generally best to explore one-on-one lesson options.

Finding the right learning environment for your child not only allows for improvements in school work, but also boosts the self-confidence of children who might otherwise believe there is something wrong with their way of learning. Therefore, it is highly important that parents look carefully at their options before choosing a school for their child and reassess as their child grows.

If you are interested in finding small class sizes and one-on-one lessons for your child, please contact us at Tenney School.


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