Not many people will oppose the idea that the pupil, the teacher, and the environment are collectively important factors in learning. A more resounding aspect of this idea is that the learner is the most important of these factors because without him or her, there will be no learning to carry out (Child, 2007). This however does not in any way undermine the influence of teachers who provide the learning experiences which the learners need. By the same reasoning, the learning environment which is one aspect of the enablers for classroom governance, and a focus of this article, also contributes in no small measure to learning.
The learning environment is further classified into physical classroom, psychological environment, the immediate community, the larger society (NTI PDE706 p. 139), and then the digital classroom (which has become more attractive following the recent COVID-19 pandemic). At this point, it is important to emphasis that institutions are often saddled with the responsibility of facilitating the realization of some aspects of the learning environment, namely: physical classroom and digital classroom.
There is no universally acceptable definition of institution. Several and sometimes varying definitions of the term have been given by different scholars. However, these definitions seem to converge on certain trends which highlight the characteristics of an institution. Meanwhile, this article has an unbiased preference for the opinion contributed in (NTI PDE706 p. 93). According to the definition, an institution is a school charged with the responsibility of shaping or modifying the behaviour of an individual with a view of equipping him or her with desirable skills, habits and attitudes to adequately adjust to communal life and contribute effectively to its growth and preservation. These audacious goals are often impossible to realise in shoddy or unkind environment. This is because sometimes, the environment has retarding effects on children’s development and their learning abilities but with good stimulating learning environments, the teacher can overcome such retarding effects (NTI PDE706 p. 102).
Also, many scholars have consistently maintained that the setting of the physical space in which children learn must be attractive enough to make them wish to spend long hours there. Hence, the physical comfort of the children must be guaranteed for learning to take place (NTI PDE706 p. 139). As at the time of publishing this article, we are not sure if most of our primary and secondary schools meet these requirements (NTI PDE706 p. 139). We may hold a brief for some private schools, but many primary and post-primary schools (owned by both individuals and government) fall short of providing standard physical classrooms with adequate ventilation, sufficient seats, lighting and illumination, modern teaching boards, consumables for administering teaching, etc. Under these circumstances, it is uncertain that a teacher would be able to govern the classroom effectively. For many years, this problem had persisted, and the teacher had to use his or her ingenuity to make the best out of the ugly situation.
To add insult to injury, the COVID-19 pandemic crept into the world with the “largest devastation on the education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in over 190 countries and all continents” (UN Policy Brief, 2020 p. 2). As challenging as the experience was, it has also stimulated innovations in the education sector. Gradually, new methods of promoting learning are being developed and existing ones modified to make teachers and learners fit into the ‘new normal’. Consequently, digital classroom is increasingly and steadily becoming part of the teaching profession. School owners are encouraged to embrace this paradigm shift to help teachers govern the classroom more effectively going forward.
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