Rethinking classrooms: more efficient and more functional

Rethinking classrooms: more efficient and more functional

March 2019 | News

Learning depends on many variables and today's teaching methods have moved on from methods used just a few years ago. There are different educational needs, different social demands come together (integration, environmental care, cooperation...), as well as the emergence of new technologies and digitalization.

We know, thanks to the progress made in neuroscience research, that the learning process is initiated through sensory experience and that emotion plays a very important role. It has been proven that spaces that create an atmosphere of harmony and inspiration stimulate attention and concentration, directly impacting learning outcomes.

In this sense, the third educator concept stands out, which was developed by the teacher and pedagogue Loris Malaguzzi. Through it, it demonstrates how the design of an educational space influences the learning process. Therefore, the current trend is to design new educational spaces that seek to establish a new dialogue with the environment, build spaces that accompany the processes of change in the teaching methods used in today’s educational centres. There is no single, right design that guarantees that students will learn better, so each centre must create spaces that respond to their identity and the needs of their community.

Educational spaces instead of classrooms

The future (which is already here) is in flexible environments that allow multiple collaborations, different uses and the application of varied methodologies. We are moving towards the end of the 'classroom' concept as a self-contained area. IT, Music, Arts class or the Assembly Hall that is used once a term for the school play, will stop having a single use and become integrated into the entire educational space, which includes, in addition, the corridors and other common areas that cease to be places of passage to become spaces where group work can be carried out, where students can read, share or rest.

Society and students have not only incorporated new uses of digital technology, but are moving towards new ways of communicating and new models of collaborative work.

This was established in a study carried out by the University of Salford: the physical environment where learning takes place can affect student performance by up to 25%. The study researched the development of several groups of students taking into account different design parameters of their classrooms and educational centres such as the direction the classroom was facing, the amount of natural light, noise, temperature, the flexibility of the spaces, the colour or air quality. Aspects that turned out to be decisive and that conclude that educational spaces play a prominent role in student learning.

That is why a reflection and debate is important on educational architecture when it comes to thinking about the educational challenges and changes that current classrooms pose. More than just a trend, it is a necessity.

The organization of the classroom is no longer a question of aesthetics, nor merely practicality and functionality. The way the tables are laid out directly affects the type of relationship established between professionals and students, between the students themselves, and between the students and learning. Therefore, it will depend on the teaching methodology that is used, but also on the relational and social hierarchy pursued by the way in which the furniture is laid out in the classroom.

In this sense, tables such as Talent , offer a solution to the needs that arise in educational spaces. It is foldable, height adjustable and mobile, providing great versatility to multi-purpose spaces, and in particular to training areas.

Ergonomic chairs also guarantee the requirements of an optimal learning environment; functionality, flexibility, physical and postural health care such as the new Whass chair, with natural aesthetics, compact and sinuous lines that has been designed for intensive use in flexible spaces. 

Space speaks. And that is why each context, each pedagogical goal, each methodology and each centre or course policy will ultimately determine the way in which new learning environments are organized.

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