ClassRoom Dimensions and Dynamics
Education is a gateway to the world. Children use their senses and logic to gain knowledge, wisdom and reasoning to be equipped and empowered to impact their environment. Campuses, inside and out, must respond to the senses to maximize learning and expression.
A focus on tangible experiences and expression is especially important for catering to the educational needs and for fostering knowledge in the students. Successful programmes engage students through movement, colour, touch and sound. School design should promote these experiences and make them accessible to all students.
To allow this to happen, physical barriers must be eliminated.
School as Home
As students spend most of their day in the classroom, careful attention should be paid to how each design element effects well-being, learning and functionality. When entering, warm colours, natural materials and daylight can put children at ease and remind them of home. Both natural and artificial lighting is best when indirect and controllable, eliminating dark areas and shadows and reducing eye strain. Proper combination of colours and texture of the walls, floor and curtains make spaces more enjoyable throughout the day. Proper space for backpacks and instructional items is important not just for maximizing space but for safety as well.
Specific classroom zones for instruction, rest and projects define the space and allow for a variety of activities and choices throughout the day, accommodating both high and low-functioning students and individual and social learners. Soft seating, low shelving, flexible furnishings and ample storage should be considered. Oversized marker boards, interactive technology and unique manipulatives are some aspects that encourage student engagement in the classroom.
Beyond the Classroom
Throughout the school, students make their way to a variety of other learning spaces. Life skills programmes teach students autonomy and prepare them for the future, simulating challenges in a safe and supervised environment. Sensory learning and expression continues to the outdoors. Open classrooms, musical elements and tactile sculptures can be incorporated for fun learning. For play structures, current accessibility standards require equal access to each type of play component which adds on to the learning space of the students positively.The intentional design of accessible, experiential learning environments opens doors for all students. Architects and designers have the responsibility to work with administrators to ensure students have access to all opportunities, providing a foundation for growth and empowerment to last a lifetime.
Requires Students Moving Around
Classroom becomes lively and happening when the students are free to share their thoughts and expression and for that they need to explore the ideas of their friends. To make both the ends learning and experiments to meet, every faculty member should engage in self-reflection, exploring the students’ personal willingness to experiment with alternative approaches to instruction. When children roll, creep, crawl, jump, or walk, their level of physical fitness is increased and academic concepts are reinforced. As students move from one point to another for exploring ideas along with a partner or partners, their self-awareness, self-esteem, and social skills are enhanced.
Posters & Gallery Walk
Give groups of students an assignment that they need to work on together and present their ideas on a sheet of chart paper. Once they have completed their poster, have them display it on the wall, much like a scientific poster session. One of their groups will stay with the poster and help to explain it as the class circulates to look at all the posters. Students take turns standing by their poster so that each one of them has the chance to visit the other groups’ posters. This sets up a more interactive way of presenting as compared to Power Point Presentations.
Multi – Dimensional Effect of Classroom Environment on Learning
A better learning environment optimizes the mind set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation. It prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information and it spurs the development of new nerve cells. When humans exercise for thirty minutes, positive changes happen in the brain and body that increase student performance.
The brain and body movement and learning systems are interdependent and interactive. For example, motor development provides the framework that the brain uses to sequence the patterns needed for academic concepts. The body’s vestibule system controls balance and spatial awareness and facilitates the students’ ability to learn words and letters. When a student moves around the class where the walls are covered with vibrant and informative charts in specific patterns, the brain’s ability to encode symbols is increased. The four visual fields needed for eye tracking are strengthened. Proper development and remediation of these systems are critical to a child’s ability to learn. As a result of a student moving through the station progressions, he/she will experience challenge, feedback, and physical activity, three components that are necessary for optimal brain function.
Class Room Games and Activities
Getting and keeping students engaged is perhaps the most important step in creating a successful learning outcome. The Collaborative Learning Spaces provide a unique learning environment. The 21st century is challenging old notions of learning spaces. The idea that students must be seated at desks working in rows is quickly becoming archaic. Technology and collaborative work environments are changing the design of learning spaces. Experts hope that the emerging paradigms will translate into improved learning spaces and influence future architectural design. When the students sit in their classroom for a long time they tend to lose interest in the learning process. It is very important for educators to play games with the students to keep their learning process intact. Educators, researchers, and students are discovering the benefits and advantages of cooperative, active, and engaged learning. Classroom spaces that do not support such a shift in teaching and learning have lagged behind. A significant opportunity exists for maximizing learning opportunities and creating meaningful experiences by rethinking the classroom experience.
The goal of classroom environment is to enrich academic, psychological, and sociological growth. The design of such learning spaces should be intentionally serendipitous and avoid prescriptive and restrictive behaviours, for both teachers and students. The design of learning spaces should increase levels of engagement, foster active learning and teaching, and support the learning goals of higher education institutions. Collaborative and dynamic working spaces help students see themselves as co-constructors of knowledge, rather than ‘subjects’ of teachers. Without hierarchical front to back row seating, every seat is the best seat in the class, and students are always at the centre of learning.
Let the dynamics of learning meet the dimensions of the classroom to make our students emerge as great learners and experimenters.
Shimmi Sharma has Master’s degrees in English, Psychology and Education, plus a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Post Graduate Diploma In Higher Education, a Certificate in English Teaching as a Second Language, a Certificate in Functional English and a Certificate In Guidance. She has been teaching English at Sunbeam School,Lahartara, Varanasi for the last seven years.