Hot Tips (Learning Spaces)

Reimagining the Ideal Learning Space

Students perform best when their environment encourages change and exploration. From collaborative projects to individual assignments, versatility is central to student success. This means that ergonomic and adaptable chairs, desks, and other elements, are most valuable if they can be reconfigured for a range of uses.

By creating distinct zones in the classroom for specific activities, students can be more focused, have more direction, and establish a clearer set of customs. When students are given autonomy over their learning environments, there is a higher level of engagement and collaboration.

For smaller classrooms, designating various activity areas can be a challenge. In these cases, the use of adjustable furniture can be the key to maximizing every square foot of space.

Here are some guiding principles for building an efficient and active environment:

Identify natural pathways, both among students and between learning zones. Configure zones to complement these pathways in an organic way, facilitating activity with minimal interruption and maximum freedom of movement.

Visualize the school day from start to finish, and identify areas of the classroom that are typically overused or underused. Find creative opportunities to mix up learning areas, reconfigure seating elements to shift focus midday, and explore the use of space for collaborative projects.

Pair activities with furnishings best suited to each task. For instance, ergonomic school furniture that facilitates an upright posture may be best for writing and creative tasks, while soft seating may be better for passive yet engaging activities, like reading or listening time.

Designate storage areas for student possessions and classroom furniture. When a space actively exhibits organization and focus, students will welcome the opportunity to independently design and reconfigure their environment.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.

About the Author

Dietmar Lang is the director of Marketing & Product for VS America. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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