In his blog, “A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms”, Mark Phillips shares his insights as he assists a young teacher working with her class to create a new and more stimulating classroom learning environment.
For the full story, http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-physical-environment-of-classrooms-mark-phillips.
As Mark suggested, there are a couple of lessons from this story:
- The physical structure of a classroom is a critical variable in effecting student morale and learning.
- Students’ involvement in the process of creating their environment can empower them, develop community and increase motivation.
Mark recommends the following resources to help teachers take classroom design ideas further:
- One of the best is The Third Teacher, a collaborative work from Abrams Books.
- The Classroom Design page of the Behavior Advisor site is a rich resource for guiding options on arranging classrooms.
- Classroom Desk Arrangement, while a bit less easy to follow, is also filled with rich ideas.
- For more general direction from the University of North Carolina School of Education, Kristi Smith’s 12 rules are a quick, useful guide to things you need to think about.
- Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft’s Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration is more generally focused, but educators can find many creative ideas for physical environments that maximize participant cooperation and creativity.
I can also highly recommend these resources:
* Nair, P and Fielding, R. (2007). The Language of School Design. Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools. DesignShare.com.
*Newton, C and Fisher, K. (2009). Take 8 Learning Spaces The transformation of educational spaces for the 21st century. ACT. Australian Institute of Architects.
* Harrison, A and Hutton, L. (2014). Design for the Changing Educational Landscape. Abingdon, Oxon and NY. Routledge.