The instructional environment refers to the instructional, behavioral, and personal aspects of the classroom experience.
An extensive amount of research has linked positive academic environments to higher student test scores and graduation rates.
A positive academic environment is characterized by high quality instruction, peers and staff who support achievement-oriented behavior and serve as positive role models, high academic expectations, and institutional academic supports for struggling students. High levels of teacher satisfaction, a sense of collective responsibility among staff for promoting academic achievement, and the availability of teaching materials also characterize a positive academic environment.
Teachers and school administrators who hold high expectations for student learning, cultivate a student culture supportive of academic achievement, and provide students with the necessary supports to meet those expectations can expect positive student outcomes. High expectations also must be codified in curricula aligned with rigorous content standards and paired with effective teaching techniques to ensure that students develop the academic knowledge and skills they need.
When classrooms are mismanaged, behavioral disruptions among a few students may interfere with learning for an entire class. Although the school-wide disciplinary environment plays an important role, appropriate classroom management strategies are key to laying the foundation for a strong academic environment.
Dunbar, C. (2004). Best Practices in Classroom Management. Michigan State University. Retrieved from: https://www.msu.edu/~dunbarc/dunbar3.pdf.
Oliver, M. & Reschly, J. (2007). Effective Classroom Management: Teacher Preparation and Professional Development. Washington: Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED543769.pdf