Providing a safe teaching environment

Wherever the teaching takes place a student should expect, and there is an obligation on the teacher or organisation concerned, to provide a safe and comfortable space where the lesson can take place.

If I am teaching at home then I have a dedicated teaching room, which is conveniently situated close to the front door so we don’t have to move through the house to get to a lesson. I must admit that it has, in the past, been quite a cluttered area. In a spree of trying to portray a more professional environment though I have removed many of the extraneous files, music, bags and stationary from the floor and other flat surfaces made it a more practical space, as illustrated in the photo below.


However this is very much a one off spring clean, but as teachers we must ensure that some of the basics of providing a secure and comfortable teaching space are attended to. Cables crossing the floor where an unsuspecting student can trip over are definitely not acceptable and the position and height of music stands are also important, particularly as an incorrectly set music stand can cause issues with posture, but this should be tempered by any issues the student may have. Someone with a bad back for example may not want the stand too high. A teaching space, wherever it is, should have windows, this is good practice for child protection but it is also more pleasant to teach and learn in natural light where possible. I also try to ensure that I am on the opposite side of the room to the door. Some students, children and adults, can feel a bit hemmed in if you are blocking their exit route so it is important to make sure this is right.

Electrical equipment can also be an issue. Personally I use an ipad and bluetooth speakers to play aural or pieces to students but a cd player generates other issues, trailing cables for instance or whether they need to be PAT (portable appliance test) tested in the same way they need it in the commercial world.

Overall much of providing a safe environment is common sense and by keeping a teaching space tidy will cover most of the issues that may affect the well being of students. Of course it not only safeguards them from accidents but if a student feels safe and secure they are much more likely to learn better.

Chris License

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