By: Saul Wagner
Flexible Classroom Layouts
While traditional classroom settings – straight rows of desks facing the blackboard – are not yet passé, today's classrooms are embracing more flexible and open learning environments. Teachers have come to realize that classroom layout has a profound effect on how their students concentrate, learn, and behave. From simple changes such as the rearrangement of seats, to more complex creations such as holistic learning labs, classroom architecture has the ability to make learning fun, increase motivation to learn, and help children better absorb and retain material presented.
In the flexible classroom scheme there is no 'one size fits all' solution to maximizing students' potential to learn. Versatility is the name of the game, including classroom spaces which encourage student interaction and provide hands-on activities. Not only does varying the position of classroom furniture hold children's attention longer, but maximizing flexibility in the classroom creates opportunities for deeper learning.
Classroom Design Ideas
The old-fashioned method of lining desks up in rows facing a teacher who lectures is especially ineffective with young children. One way to keep children engaged in the learning process is to shake up the classroom design. Some popular contemporary classroom furniture configurations include:
Versatile petal desks, which can stand alone or be placed next to each other to form hexagonal flower-shaped clusters. The clusters facilitate both independent student learning and collaborative group work. The desks can also be arranged in different configurations depending on the layout of the classroom and the needs of the teacher and students. Petal desks come in a variety of colors to complement various classroom décors.
The cluster design, where four student desks are arranged in a "quad," facilitating group interaction and keeping students engaged on a small group level.
The horseshoe or "U" layout, which puts the teacher at the open end of the horseshoe and offers all students a front-row seat; this layout allows for larger group discussion and helps students stay engaged by facilitating interaction between students and their teacher.
Creating Productive Learning Environments
By thinking out of the box and investing in innovative classroom desks & alternative classroom layout designs, teachers can go a long way in motivating students to learn and in setting up productive learning environments.
Finally, education in the 21st century entails facilities which are ADA-compliant or wheelchair accessible as per the American with Disabilities Act guidelines (i.e. the installation of ramps or lifts). By catering to the needs, interests and abilities of all students, educators have the ability to make the learning process more enjoyable, more personal, more interesting, and ultimately more effective.
A successful learning experience begins with a well-equipped classroom. Hertz Furniture is committed to offering well-made and reasonably-priced school furniture and accessory items. Visit our website at www.HertzFurniture.com for more information, and don't forget to check out our School Matters Blog, a valuable educational resource that we hope will help you be the best teachers that you can be.