How Classroom Designs Benefit Student Learning
Recent studies have shown that students can benefit from a well designed classroom. Despite the age and the level of education the students are in, classroom designs will surely enhance their learning and the way they engage with other each. This recent finding will take education to the next level. Sadly, classroom designs is not a high a priority at the moment due to lack of funds or disinterest in many countries, but positive attitudes is slowly starting to develop with the educational authorities. The old style classrooms with traditional desks placed in rows facing the teacher will slowly be a thing of the past and hopefully in the next few decades, teachers will start teaching students in new learning environments.
To improve student engagement, a good classroom design is an ideal way to have an impact on students, and give them a motivation to learn and enjoy their time in class. It is obvious students have to spend many hours in school, college or university to study, and having a welcoming atmosphere in the classroom will surely boost their enthusiasm. Even the greatest lessons, books, technological resources and other materials will not get many students ecstatic about learning and studying hard if there is no motivation in it.
A research conducted by Steelcase, a supplier of furniture for educational institutes, has found that more than 70% of students were motivated to attend class, being more engaged in activities and confident enough to get higher grades. Over 120 students in 2014 were involved in the survey in the United States. This analysis by Steelcase has proved that students get encouraged in education by classroom flexibility.
Another research was conducted in 2012 by the University of Salford in the United Kingdom. The researchers were analyzing 751 students in 34 classrooms and doing the evaluation and tracking on the students performance in one academic year. They came to the conclusion that classroom design can enhance students performance by 25%. The study was conducted by taking certain things into consideration on what makes the student engage more in the classroom.
In general, such considerations to examine a student's performance in the classroom can include:
Comfort - This has a good influence on the way students behave by having modern and uniquely designed furniture. This may even include having pillows in the chairs for added comfort and posture. Furniture can have an appealing effect of a classroom for students' comfort and their focus on studies. The quality and design of furniture will keep the classroom stay smarter and brighter. In general, I think quality designed furniture is the key to achieve success for students because of its effectiveness.
- Layout - The classroom layout can play a huge part in the way students collaborate. This can enhance student engagement such as teamwork. Having desks arranged in semi-circles improves communication and more focus towards others. Unique and interesting furniture will bring out a welcoming and innovative atmosphere in the classroom, and with a feeling of a magical flow. Interaction between students and teachers will greatly improve due to the uniqueness of the classroom as well.
- Colors - The colorful designs of a classroom can stimulate students learning and increase their chances of success. Colors are a vital part in classroom designs to have an impact on the students mood and to help them focus. However, this depends mostly on the type of colors being decorated in the classroom due to the age and education level of the students. Colors should be neither over-calming or over-stimulating because students are different too.
- Air Quality - A well designed classroom with proper ventilation and hygiene can have an impact on students performance. Poor air quality in the classroom causes headaches, sneezing, coughing and other irritations. It mars the students ability to concentrate. According to the U.S Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in 2013, children suffering from asthma between the age of 5-17 missed 13.8 million days of school each year. This is due to poor indoor environments in the school buildings. Air quality can improve concentration levels for academic success in a good learning environment as well as in the classroom. It will improve health and reduce absences in many students.
- Lighting - The use of artificial lighting in the classroom can affect students mood in a positive or negative way. The brain's ability to focus is very much related to the way the lights in the classroom are lit. It has been argued that students in a brightly lit classrooms perform better than those in dimly lit classrooms. The brain effectiveness reduces due to poor lighting. Having well designed lights with appropriate brightness can make the difference in the student's learning ability with reduced anxiety as well. Also old-fashioned fluorescent lights can make the classroom appear ugly and bad. This might distract some students with health issues from learning. A classroom with large windows with plenty of outside light is much better and natural for anybody.
- Technology - Having good technological equipment properly set out in the classroom plays another important role in the way students engage and study. Having different colored equipment such as laptops enhances the appearance of classroom designs as well as making learning more pleasant. It is also important that any modern technological equipment does not create a mess especially with cables all over the table and behind. keeping such cables neat and tidy is an advantage.
- Sound - Classroom acoustics is very important and helps improve student learning. Good classroom design including the wall and ceiling will determine how sound is traveled. Students can hear and understand better on what is being said by the teacher. The teachers do not have to raise their voice in order for them to be heard. Students will also perform and learn better depending on the acoustics. However, this also depends on where the classroom is situated. If it is next to a noisy environment outside with windows open, then it can be a problem because it will interfere with the students ability to concentrate. Good classroom acoustics may not benefit teachers and students if that is the case for example.
All teachers in principle, want their students to progress well in their studies and pass their exams. Unfortunately, most teachers are not giving much thought on classroom designs and how it can have an impact on student engagement. The settings in classrooms must be flexible in order to rearrange things easily with added space for moving around freely. Hopefully, educational institutes and their staff will recognize the importance of classroom design to acquire better educational outcomes from students. It will also benefit the teachers with new environmental settings when teaching. Recent researches has proved classroom designs affect learning in students, but as long it does not create negativity, it will surely benefit everyone in education.
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Paradise, C. (2019) "Improved Learning Through Classroom Design", University of Salford Manchester [online] Available at: http://www.salford.ac.uk/business/consultancy/case-studies-nightingale-schools [Accessed 10 June 2019].
Steelcase. (2014) "How Classroom Design Affects Engagement", Steelcase [online] Available at: https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/active-learning/how-classroom-design-affects-student-engagement/ [Accessed: 25 May 2019].
Vanhemert, K. (2013) "Study Shows How Classroom Design Affects Student Learning", FastCompany [online] Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/1671627/study-shows-how-classroom-design-affects-student-learning [Accessed: 25 May 2019].
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Zia Uddin