Evanshen co-authors book on classroom environment

Published 1:43 pm Monday, April 13, 2020

JOHNSON CITY — Dr. Pamela Evanshen from East Tennessee State University is the co-author of “Room to Learn:  Elementary Classrooms Designed for Interactive Explorations,” published by Gryphon House. Her co-author is Dr. Janet Faulk, a retired faculty member from Milligan College.
The book helps early childhood teachers to focus on how the arrangement of classrooms can create learning opportunities that are student-centered, welcoming and developmentally appropriate and promote positive learning experiences.
According to the authors, educators can learn how to facilitate discovery and active engagement through the use of learning centers and discover strategies for empowering children to take ownership of their learning and to work together in collaborative ways through project-based education and problem solving.
“Classroom and learning environments are complex in that the many physical elements, such as design, organization, aesthetics, and sensory components have a tremendous influence on the educational experiences of students,” said Evanshen, who is chair of the Department of Early Childhood Education in the Clemmer College.  “Working together, these elements can greatly enhance learning, and our book offers insights for how to transform these spaces into student-centered, developmentally appropriate learning communities where kids can thrive.”
Evanshen and Faulk have developed a rating scale called APPEAL, or Assessing the Pillars of the Physical Environment for Academic Learning, to help educators understand and implement improvements in how the elementary learning environment is used.
The APPEAL rating scale, according to the authors, helps teachers get the most out of their classrooms by measuring six important elements: meaningful learning, social learning, purposeful learning, responsible learning, continuous learning and inquiry-based learning.
“We want to give educators a chance to redesign or enhance their classrooms to get the best possible learning outcomes,” Evanshen added.
Dr. Will Parnell, a department chair and professor at Portland State University, writes, “Room to Learn offers primary grade teachers a way to bridge between active learning and proactive environments that enliven learning experiences. There are many practical applications woven into each chapter, including a rating scale to help teachers see into their own learning design patterns. I particularly found the final chapters intriguing, as they provide a guide for school leadership and offer a collaborative approach to rating and improving classroom and school environments.”
Evanshen was recently elected president-elect of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. She will become the organization’s president in 2021.
She holds a B.A. degree in special education and elementary education from Tusculum University and a M.Ed. degree from ETSU, where she also earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis.
In addition to NAECTE, she is a member of several other professional organizations, including the National Association of the Education of Young Children, Association for Childhood Education International and the Southern Early Childhood Association, among others. This is the third book she has co-authored.

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