The tides have been shifting. Each year, learning and teaching practices shift to involve the students more and more, giving them a choice in designing how they wish to learn. It’s only right that they be given the same sense of empowerment in the creative process of the space where they learn. This is, after all, where they spend most of their days.
Research shows that an inviting classroom induces potential and creativity, as well as feelings of relevancy and safety. All of these leads to engagement and better performance. Creating spaces where students have a say in how tables should be arranged, what should be posted on the walls, and where their materials are to be kept can bring wonders. Now, before setting off to work and scour the Internet for ideas and the best school furniture supplies, consider the tips below for better classroom makeover planning:
Your students’ voice should be heard in the design process
It is integral that teachers be able to observe how their students are in their natural habitat. Only then can they truly understand how to accommodate each individual’s needs. This can be done by simply asking them what they would like to see in the classroom and how the tables and chairs should be arranged. Such simple gestures can help transform not just the physical classroom, but the overall atmosphere—one that induces a student-centric environment. It’s their space, after all.
Comfort and flexibility should be your top priorities
A student’s physical comfort is tantamount. It’s extremely uncomfortable to sit on a chair behind a metal desk for seven hours straight each day. Many reflect and confess that this affects the effectiveness of the learning environment. Moreover, how often do we truly consider a student’s comfort levels in the design process. Rarely, that’s what, and ensuring that they are comfortable is tantamount. Perhaps you could introduce pillows to contrast their metal desks and chairs. Maybe an hour’s worth of classes could be held outside of the classroom for a change of environment.
Know that redesigning does not have to be costly
It’s easy to assume that the process of redesigning equates to costing money, but the truth is far from that. A simple bucket of green paint can brighten up a dull white room. Decluttering can make the office feel much lighter and more open. A trip to the yard sale as a collective class effort can help give your classroom the right tools for a classroom makeover. The key is to think creatively, not costly.
Your makeover should go beyond the four walls of the classroom
Although it’s important that you start from somewhere, a true classroom makeover goes beyond just a single learning space. For a true improvement, the makeover should apply to the entire campus – from the first impressions brought about the front door of the school building, the hallways people walk in, down to the cafeteria. There’s also the prospect of renovating the library, gymnasium, and even the offices. How do the parents and students feel? Each corner should reflect the school culture and mission. Only then will you be able to make a solid environment that caters to what matters the most—student growth and learning.
As you begin your classroom makeover journey, keep in mind that the quest to achieving the ideal learning space takes time and effort. Open communication is a must as all parties must work together to guarantee success. Likewise, if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change course. Again, your classroom redesigning is an ongoing process.