Just like in restaurants, shops and homes, how a classroom looks and feels will affect how we react to it as an environment. From the entrance to the eating areas, the design of schools plays a role in levels of student engagement.
Classroom Design should not be overlooked, with many forward-thinking schools now understanding its importance in the overall school experience for their students. Studies in the UK found that classroom design could have a 25% impact – either positive or negative, on a student’s progress in an academic year. Therefore, it is essential that learning institutions and their leaders take classroom design seriously.
There are already several government initiatives investing into different areas of learning including STEM; set up by the Federal Government and investing $12 million to increase student uptake of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Their focus is on primary and secondary schools across Australia and classroom design as a major consideration within their work.
Classroom Design: Things To Consider
There are numerous aspects of classroom design to consider and the effect of each will be far reaching. Bad design can have an incredibly negative effect on student engagement, whilst good classroom design can inspire and motivate students.
This is one of the easiest ways to make a difference in a classroom. It is cheap to do and can have an instant effect. Students need visual stimulation and the colour of walls, floors and ceilings can be changed easily.
Fact: Warmer colours are better for younger students, whilst cooler colours are better for older learners?
It may seem simple but so many classrooms are badly designed in terms of the furniture. In particular, chairs and desks can have a huge impact on the way and the ease students learn. Ergonomic design has developed significantly over the past decade making it more accessible.
Numerous scientific studies have found the positive effect of natural light on the way we live. It has an uplifting effect meaning that we are more likely to feel happy, inspired and motivated. If a classroom has a view of trees or natural elements such as the sky, this can also have a hugely calming effect on students and help with concentration levels all round.
A classroom should always be designed with the understanding that it may be required for different things. It’s important to be able to change the layout of the tables and chairs, to create extra space when needed or to be conducive to either group working or test conditions.
Those who have an interest in Pedagogy and the way that students learn best understand the effect of classroom design and the space that students are in. It’s essential to take the principles learned and to put them into practice within the physical space of each classroom.