Time and again, studies have found that a student’s learning environment greatly impacts their educational outcomes. This is why it is important to design classrooms with thought and care, taking into consideration what your students need as well as the teaching style of the instructors before undertaking major layout and furniture changes. It is best practice to do some research before committing to any changes, so here is a list of things you should contemplate when making changes to the classroom:
1. Purpose of the Space
A classroom in a primary school should look different to a library in a high school, which should in turn look different to a tutorial room in a TAFE, because each of these spaces have different functions. When designing a learning space, you need to consider what the students will be doing in the space.
Classrooms: These are spaces for teacher aided learning, where whiteboards will be needed to help take notes and illustrate points. Some tasks will require collaboration while others demand independent work, so chairs and tables will need to be light and easily moveable. To keep students informed of upcoming tests, it is also recommended to have a term planner on display.
Libraries: These spaces primarily function as independent study areas that service all students and staff who require additional learning resources. This is why height adjustable desks are suitable, as working at a desk that is too short or too tall encourages poor posture. A sturdy trolley will also be required to cart books around.
Study Spaces: These spaces are less diverse in function than standard classrooms and libraries, so more solid tables can be used as the space does not need a high degree of flexibility. As students are likely to be seated for long periods of time, ergonomic chairs are required to ensure students remains comfortable and focused.
No one layout is the definitive choice for any type of learning space, but by starting your decision-making process by considering what the space is used for, you can begin narrowing down your options.
2. Needs of the Students
Every student is unique and so it is to be expected that their learning styles are unique too. To allow every student to flourish, learning spaces need to act as safe spaces for students to grow and learn. This requires a level of flexibility in room layout and the promotion of an environment that intellectually stimulates and creatively inspires student. These goals can be achieved through various means.
- Inclusivity: Students will vary in terms of the abilities and backgrounds; this must be considered when designing any learning space. Rooms should be wheelchair accessible, have enough space for students to move in, and the layout should ensure students never feel left out.
- Belonging: For students to feel comfortable, they must feel a sense of belonging and ownership within the classroom. This can be achieved through means as simple as giving them their own space, be it through a seating plan or individual lockers or trays.
- Engagement: Students are likely to lose focus over time, having an interesting and dynamic environment will help keep them engaged. This can be achieved through choosing fun colours for the furniture, getting ergonomic chairs, and choosing a flexible desk layout that can change to suit the lesson.
3. Style of the Teachers
Teachers should be involved in the design process as they are the ones who will be using the space as a tool to educate. By incorporating part of the teacher’s personality in the stylistic choices, these learning spaces can become more comfortable for the teachers, which will result in improved teaching performance. Also, it is important that teachers have a deep understanding of the classroom layout and function of each piece of furniture so they can quickly and efficiently reconfigure the room to best suit their lesson plan. By getting teachers more involved in the design process, the classrooms will be better suited to fit their teacher styles and the teachers themselves will feel more valued if their input is sought after.
Need help planning an upgrade to your learning spaces? Consult an expert at All Storage Systems.
At All Storage Systems, we strive to help learning institutions create the best possible environment for students. Our team of specialists can design the perfect learning space for your students, helping them achieve the best possible educational outcomes. Contact our sales team on 1800 772 726 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a FREE Fitout consultation.