Without a doubt most teachers, parents and students would agree that the physical space makes a difference to learning. Yet many classrooms lack windows and proper lighting and are painted in dreary colours that are uninviting. The spaces many of us are expected to teach in are not conducive to learning. This fall I took a course as part of my masters that was about spatial relationships and learning. Through my course work it became even more evident to me than before that my classroom was not the most positive looking space.
Below are some photos of what my classroom looked like.
I asked my Design Thinking class come up with as many possible ideas as they could about how to make our classroom a better space for learning. Here are there ideas:
Many of their ideas revolved around interior design ideas and how to make the space more inviting. I also challenged students to look into the ergonomics of the class and the class soon realized that standing desks, or tools for hyperactive students were extremely expensive and often times out of the confines of a school budget. For example, students looked into purchasing pedals for under some desks for those students that struggle to sit still and pay attention and realized each pedal cost $1000.
Most of the changes we made to the classroom were in the discipline of Interior Design. Regardless of how superficial these changes may appear they made drastic differences. We changed the stark yellow colour in the bulletin boards to shades of blue and green (based on students research), we added plants to our windowsill, moved my desk to the front of the room to create more floor space in the classroom, created a student space at the back of the room where they get supplies they need for class (pencils, scissors, glue, pencil crayons, etc.) and any extra handouts they may have missed or lost and hung Christmas lights to create different lighting options depending on the tasks we are working on. Above our back whiteboard was an overhead projector screen which has been removed and covered in sky blue construction paper and inspirational quotes.
The space overall feels so much more welcoming and the students are clearly happier. I have students coming into my room that I have taught in the past asking why these changes weren’t made when they were in my class and students that I’ve never taught that come in just to visit and see the space.
Until next time,