Creating Effective
Learning Structures

Jenning Prevatte, M. Ed.

Life is a balancing act. Our hands and minds are always busy between teaching, learning, and living. It is no different for our students; whether they are young children or adults, they, too, lead busy lives. Developing effective learning structures is a critical aspect of effective teaching. Consistent class routines allow learners to predict, make inferences, and stay focused in the learning environment. Creating rituals and routines in the learning structure supports the brain. The brain is naturally a pattern-seeking organ. Therefore, integrating rituals and routines into the learning structure helps students feel comfortable and safe and provides a sense of organization that can help them stay focused and engaged. By establishing clear expectations and predictable routines, teachers can help students develop good habits and a sense of responsibility that will serve them well throughout their lives.

In addition, rituals and routines assist in establishing trust, rapport, and a strong community of learning. When learners know what to expect, they are more equipped to focus their attention, be organized, and have better time management skills. Whether starting each day with a morning meeting, taking a brain break simultaneously, or incorporating regular check-ins and feedback sessions, rituals and routines can make a big difference in creating a positive and productive learning environment. Ultimately, rituals and routines are crucial for building a thriving learning environment.

Don't choose activities you can't engage in or don't find valuable. And be creative!

In my college classes, I create a learning structure that's foundation is based on rituals and routines. We begin each class with a grounding activity. This simple mindfulness activity helps us pause and ground ourselves to be present in our class. Like secondary education students, college students typically run from one class to the next or juggle many aspects of life. Breathing and settling into the learning environment has been a great addition to my teaching practice. Then I move to a community-building activity. This activity is designed for my students to build rapport, trust, and a sense of community with each other and me. These two rituals are critical to my learning structure. They provide a strong sense of community, inclusion, and a psychologically brave space for my students to learn. They are beneficial to my students and me. Engaging in these rituals helps me be fully present in my teaching. These rituals take less than 10 minutes of my class time. However, the impact on learning is irreplaceable.

So, what types of rituals and routines can you add to your learning structure? I recommend being intentional and authentic. Don't choose activities you can't engage in or don't find valuable. And be creative; bring a little fun to your class routines. In my opinion, that is how you create brilliant learning environments!

Always remember!

You are talented! You are brilliant!

You connect, engage, and inspire the future! 

It is our charge to teach brilliantly so learners can learn brilliantly! To do this, we must fully understand why we do what we do and who we are. As you've probably noticed, I love to engage in reflection. This is one of the reasons I love blogging. It allows me to reflect on my teaching practice as I share experiences and concepts from my professional learning.

On that note, take a moment to reflect on what your top three dispositions are. What dispositions do you lean into to create inclusive learning environments?

In addition, my goal is to share evidence-based practices that connect the heart of teaching and the knowledge of quality teaching practices to enhance learning environments for all learners. Therefore, I would like to share various resources to support you in my new Teach Brilliantly Toolkit!

One that I love is Effective Teaching Practices, which provides you with five inclusive teaching practices. 

You can download this free resource by signing up for our Teach Brilliantly Toolkit.