It can not be understated how important the classroom environment is for learning. Not only do the atmosphere and expectations play a role in creating a positive, welcoming learning environment but the physical layout of the classroom itself plays a role in how focused and involved students are in their learning. Herrera and Murray (2011) note that CLD students face a number of challenges specifically "at the heart of the CLD student biography is the sociocultural dimension. This dimension encompasses the complex social and cultural factors and variables that are critical to the transitional adjustments and the academic success of the CLD student" (p. 12).
Problems for CLD students beyond the anxiety and judgement that come with acculturation are teacher attitudes that CLD students are problematic. Herrera and Murry (2011) strongly encourage teachers to "empathize with students at each phase of the acculturation process in order to better understand the influences it may have on the students' language development, cognitive growth, and academic achievement" (p. 20).
Teachers need to create safe, welcoming learning environments that encourage CLD students to get involved with their education and take the kinds of risks during the learning process that are necessary for them to grow as students. Miller and Cunningham (2011) state, "there is a strong, positive relationship between students' level of motivation and engagement and their perceptions of the classroom environment as being socially supportive." (para. 17) Furthermore, Herrera and Murray (2011) note that by creating a welcoming environment "CLD students learn to confront the new cultural environment in more reflective and proactive ways " (p. 21).
Physically it is important for a classroom to be open, organized, bright, and brightly colored. Exemplary student work needs to be prominently displayed along with educational posters, graphs, charts, and snippets. A proper classroom should reflect the quality learning environment that it should be. Breaux and Whitaker (2014) note several flaws that ineffective classrooms share, specifically "the classroom looks disorganized. There is “stuff” everywhere." (para. 1) This is the wrong way to keep a classroom. Imagine how you would feel if you had to go to school in a dark, dirty, disorganized classroom in a foreign country where you were seen as a problem. How well do you think you would do in school?