Governments, business people, educators and parents all over the world are working hard to improve the educational system. Billions and billions of dollars are invested in improving teaching and curricula, yet, the amount of knowledge kids learn stays the same. However, experts think the problem isn’t the teachers or the curriculum, but the physical spaces—classrooms and learning spaces. They rarely get any money from the government and educators rarely pay attention to them. Many schools in the US and Australia were built 50-60 years ago, which means they are seriously fallen behind the needs of today’s youth, and especially the youth of the future. Just like we update curricula and teaching methods, we should also update learning spaces to reflect our rapidly changing world. Here are just some of the ways new classrooms and learning spaces can be designed and improved.
Orient towards pedagogy
In the past, students and teachers were mostly oriented towards lecture and teacher-speaks-student-listens type of classes. However, today teachers use all sorts of teaching modes from lectures and discussions to team projects and brainstorming. So, what kids of today need is a space where they can quickly transition from one mode to another. Space should also be fit for peer learning as well as individual learning. Additionally, the instructor should be free to move around the classroom and freely interact with students and assess their work.
Make technology work for you
The classroom of today should be designed for sharing and displaying information on interactive surfaces. Technology is such an important factor in kids’ lives that it’s simply unnatural for them to stay away from it while at school. Teachers should also allow the use of instructional technology tools and personal devices for the sake of learning. However, extensive planning should occur when integrating these devices into the learning process to ensure they are used for the intended purposes and make digital and analogue learning collaborate to achieve the best results.
Design a space that promotes well-being
Modern learning spaces should be designed for visual and physical access that will provide every student with the same opportunities (every student should have the best seat in the room). Space should also allow students the access to the teacher and each other. There should also be designated spaces for bonding and collaboration. The classroom should be safe, equipped with all sorts of posters that promote safety, and all faulty furniture and equipment should be fixed or replaced.
Another thing that will promote kids’ safety and health is seating and desks. For instance, kids in Australia start school when they’re 6 (Tasmanian kids start when they turn 5) and their bodies are still developing. This is why it’s important to equip the classrooms with appropriate seating for the tasks at hand. There are companies that deal in high-quality classroom furniture in Australia who provide the market with different types of chairs appropriate for all school tasks.
Work towards inclusion
The classroom of the future should be tailored to fit the needs of kids from different backgrounds, races, religions, cultures and financial statuses. In order to do that, architects and teachers have to get to know these students and learn about them. The best way to do so is to invite students from all backgrounds and make a game of creating the school of their dreams. Projects like these will offer valuable insights to interior designers and architects and help them with coming up with the best solutions.
Focus on adaptability
In order for the learning space to be functional for years to come, it has to be designed with adaptability in mind. This should be the main focus of everyone who’s working on the project. Changes in technology and teaching practices are happening with amazing speed, so the classroom should be designed to adapt to these changes. School administration can’t expect to invest a lot of money into building and buying things that are to last many years without upgrades and remodels. In fact, the new learning space will have to be updated every 10 years. The fabrication of buildings that allow easy transformation and repurposing is the future of schooling.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one perfect design for classrooms and learning spaces. However, if architects, interior designers and instructors realize that their design and teaching mode should change and adapt, the education system will be significantly better and more effective in the future.
Author: Derek Lotts is a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator and writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and everything related to home improvement. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.