HOW DOES A CLASSROOM DESIGN AFFECT A CHILD’S ABILITY TO LEARN? 14 MEDICAL & EDUCATIONAL EXPERTS WEIGH IN…
Student outcomes are the most relevant factor when it comes to measuring the success of a learning environment. Though classroom design has an important influence on learning achievement, the majority of time is spent on traditional methods of enhancing the learning progress, such as executing standardized tests, professional growth for educators, and advancement or mediation courses for students. Thanks to a growing awareness of the profound impact classroom design can have on the educational achievements of students, opinions on classroom design are changing, as educators are making strides toward constructing optimal learning environments with the goal of meeting the educational needs of various groups of students.
I found that as a classroom teacher, allowing students to choose the spots they found most comfortable to work in helped students concentrate and allowed me to concentrate on facilitating learning, not managing behavior. – Jennifer Stringer
When creating classroom designs suited to enhance the educational experience of all learners, educators are focusing on cultivating student growth in creativity, collaboration, and communication. Along with the initiative for personalized learning, a core focus of modern classroom design is flexibility. Flexible classroom designs allow learners to make choices, experiment with learning techniques, and ultimately discover how they learn best. A flexible classroom layout also supplies teachers with a greater capacity to effectively respond to different students’ learning needs. Flexible classrooms usually incorporate some type of group discussion area, a variety of seating options, and a flexible space, which can be adjusted for many specialized activities. With the central goal of providing the space for students to explore, share, and create collaboratively, flexible classroom arrangements provide the means for a variety of group set-ups and lesson formats in hopes of addressing all students’ needs.
Alyson Gembala (Twitter), ChildhoodExplored.com – “My favorite classroom I’ve ever taught in is covered in children’s art. It is a preschool classroom, and kids are loudly and joyfully learning all the time. They can reach everything they need to create art or inventions or things I hadn’t even thought about. Teacher of course set up lessons and activities, but the students are empowered to learn through play and problem-solve for themselves. The curriculum is created based upon the interests and developmental needs of the students, so it’s different every year. We always keep the doors open, and children are free to go to other classrooms or even outside during their learning time. The school was designed so that adults can be stationed in various places and the kids could be free to learn where they feel curious.”
Shantala Boss (Facebook), MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, – “A child’s learning can be impacted by many different factors and the ambiance of a classroom does play a very important role. Muted colors and lamps or natural light create a welcoming, positive environment for children. Fluorescent lighting has the opposite effect. Another idea is to add plants to the classroom. Plants are a natural mood booster and studies have shown they can reduce stress and anxiety.”
Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, Author of the book, Life Transitions: Personal Stories of Hope Through Life’s Most Difficult Challenges and Changes – “As a play therapist, I look at space from a relational stand point. So, if the space is warm and inviting and creates connection between the kids, then this will also help with learning because they feel comfortable here. When I think of warm and inviting spaces, I think of bright colors, carpet, pillows, toys, books, art… open spaces, but also nooks where a kid could go read a book or play with a toy, if they needed some downtime/alone time.”
Dr. Mimi Shagaga (Instagram) (Facebook), Licensed Clinical Psychologist, – “Physical environments in the classroom can have a significant impact on learning. Research has indicated that classroom organization, access of supplies, lighting and even the color of a classroom can boost academic achievement levels. Additionally, crowded classrooms with more students have been linked to lower levels of achievement. Research has also indicated that classrooms with windows, particularly with views of some type of landscape have been linked to better performance on tests. It has also been found that these types of classrooms have led to less mental fatigue and better performance in the areas of attention and focus.”