Yesterday I wrote about how I would like my classroom to look without commenting on the impact it would have on students. Today I am going to look specifically at what the students need.
When considering what a learning environment should look like, first we must consider the environment the students work in outside of the classroom. Where are they most comfortable? The majority of students work in their bedroom. I’m not suggesting that we then model the classroom after the bedroom, but we need to look at what makes this space comfortable for students to work in. The key I think is that it is their space. It may not be the best learning environment, but it is their environment, a place they have control over. When a student arrives in your classroom they feel they are entering a room that they have no control over. It is a cold room that does not reflect their personality.
Student Needs in a Classroom
- Need to have a say in where they sit (from day-to-day). This means that there should not be a strict seating plan. It also means they are free to change seats from day-to-day. By providing this, it allows them some control over the room.
- The layout of the furniture can be changed to fit the students’ learning comfort zone and not the teacher’s. For this to happen, the furniture needs to be easily manipulated.
- There needs to be a variety of seating options (those hard plastic chairs are not a student’s first choice).
- The wall colour shouldn’t be representative of a cold institution (white or some form of off-white). Wall colour can greatly affect the mood of those in the room. Something bright and lively will draw the students in.
- As far as technology goes, they should be able to use their technology and not the school’s technology. If I offered a wireless connection to any one of my classes and told them they could use their devices, I guarantee that a large majority of the students would show up with some sort of portable wireless device to use in class.
- One of the most important aspects of the classroom is the choice to choose who they work with (not really part of the physical structure I know).
I likely haven’t thought of everything here, but this is a rushed post so forgive me. However, what I leave you with is this: How many of you have thought about the importance of student comfort when it comes to learning? When thinking about an answer for this, think about the comforts you require around you when you are learning.