Designing Educational Spaces for Effective Learning
A traditional school will have closely packed classrooms with close seating arrangements making the study a boring experience. In order for the students to be creative, the environment too should be creative and lively. A creative education space can have multipurpose use. It can be used as a classroom, workshop or activity area. Innovation in the place increases the creative ability of the individuals. The design of educational space has a prominent impact on students learning ability and their performance. There have been proven studies which confirm that students’ performance can be improved by having favorable environmental factors. As per a study by George Land and Beth Jarman, creative learning has given best results in toddlers. Investment in a good interior design of an educational space is an asset to the organization and also to the students to become successful adults. An educational space has to be designed considering the targeted population (toddlers or higher classes). Irrespective of the pupils, the most important factors which are to be considered while designing an educational space are
- Color: This depends on the class of students. Kindergarten and lower class students get attracted by vibrant colors. Red, blue, Orange, green and yellow has a stimulating effect on the toddlers and young children. The higher class students need relatively warmer colors. Don’t go with grey or black colors, floors or furniture. It gives a dull feeling in the environment. Light colors add spark in the classrooms.
- Furniture: The tables and the chairs should be designed considering the average height of the student and the ergonomics. Childhood is the growing phase and children tend to spend longtime sitting in the classes. Each chair should provide the comfort and allow good body posture. Either you opt for benches or table-chair system there should be some provision for keeping the bags, books, and stationery.
- Pathways and Corridors: This area should be spacious to allow free movement of students and teacher. The corridor and pathways for each classroom can be elegantly painted indicating the higher standard.
- Light: Natural light is the best light. In case the classrooms are to be designed with artificial lights, make sure that lights are not too bright. Especially kindergarten should be sufficiently illuminated considering that toddlers have different perception about the light.
- Classroom dais: In a typical classroom, the teacher delivers the lecture and students listen and make note of highlighted points. The dais for the teacher should be sufficiently high so that all the students can clearly see the board.
- Natural Elements: Mounting research says that nature can help children overcoming depression, ADD and child obesity. Try to have windows in the classrooms and add plants on the other side. It gives a fresh and rejuvenating atmosphere. Try to have natural elements wherever possible in the staircase, corridor, etc. Lastly, a creative educational environment can help in increasing collaboration, creativity, and inventive abilities.
- Staff Rooms: Teacher and the student communication is very important, designing staff room near to the classroom is a good idea. It allows easy access and control over the students. The exhausted teacher does also need to rejuvenate themselves. There should be proper racking system to keep the books and articles of each student and also the personal belongings of each teacher. Traditional racking system can be used for books as it saves space and easy identification.
- Canteen: For higher classes, lunch and breaks are more of a social gathering than just eating. The traditional long utilitarian tables are boring and give the feeling of work but not a break time. Having small circular tables gives a pleasant environment. The cafeterias walls can be displayed with cartoon characters, instructions, and good habits. Another interesting feature which can be used is oversized steps, which gives a stylish seating arrangement.
Ideally, the classrooms should not be overly crowded with the students and the articles for display. A classroom should have adequate light, ventilation, and proper HVAC system. The classroom temperature should be optimal which helps the student to concentrate on learning. A good educational space should have a separate administrative section, educational section and play area with the canteen. The furniture and fixtures used in the classroom or canteen should be easy to clean to maintain hygiene and prevent infection. There should be flexibility in changing the room interiors to prevent monotony and add liveliness. Apart from classrooms, there can be different learning spaces to encourage students to sharpen their abilities.
Active Learning Space: This area can be used for taking regular classes, holding essay competitions, debates or learning at the time of examinations. The students can call it collaborative spaces where they can come together and discuss the topics. It allows the active learning process by interaction, collaboration, and teamwork.
These types of activities help in overcoming stage fear and improve communication skills. The staff members can act as facilitators in such group collaborations. The freedom provided to the student encourages him to be more confident and allows skillful learning. The management may find it difficult to reset the room after each session, the collaboration of students and the instructors can help in maintaining the room in condition. Whiteboards and flipcharts are a must as writable surfaces are required to practice and explain to fellow classmates. There should be provision for movable tables, chairs, and whiteboards. Writable walls are a big YES! where students can scribble.
There has been a new approach in teaching where teachers record their video of a chapter which students access it either from home or another place. Many institutes and tutorials are coming with this concept. The students can replay the video as per their convenience. Provision for projector or television can help in studying through these videos.
Presentation Rooms: These rooms can also be used as test rooms or small activity rooms. Such rooms allow students to work in a closely knit environment. The walls of Active Learning Space or Presentation rooms can be of glass to allow transparency
Multipurpose play areas are a must. If the space permits both indoor and outdoor play areas should be included in the map.
A renovated classroom with fun furniture and unique features in the corridors increase the zest!