Research abounds with information about learning styles and how the classroom environment influences student learning. So why do the school classrooms continue to be designed with a generic approach to the layout of casework, furniture, computers and the design of the classroom shape?
How can the physical classroom space best support different styles of learning and different styles of teaching?
Classroom spaces can generate increased teacher-student and student-student communication and collaborations with peer-learning.
Swinburne are currently designing learning spaces for teaching, which will give us the capacity to facilitate constructivist learning. If you are looking to engage your students and encourage creativity, collaboration and curiosity, these are the classrooms for you!
Professor Peter Jamieson of The University of. Melbourne ran workshops this week which highlighted the direct link between successful engagement of learners and the physical learning space.
The workshop focused on areas such as:
- How to keep learning groups connected
- How to bring students into contact with learning content
- How to facilitate group learning
- Teaching from all around the room (and not from the front)
- Letting the students take ownership of their learning
- How to design/arrange space for optimum benefit to learners
Classrooms should be designed to permit easy circulation and grouping of students for discussion.
I concluded from this that we need to think carefully about how we set up our classrooms for learning and to beware of the architectural designs, which are often done by people without teaching knowledge. We are on a great pathway to work collaboratively with architects and share our expertise in our own areas.
Following on from this workshop, I spent a half day at Melbourne Uni with Peter, looking at his learning space designs and the projects he is involved with. We discussed concepts and logic behind design plans in depth. This has helped me in my capacity of ‘Flexible Learning Advisor’ to think more creatively about classroom usage.