Student engagement ranks at the top of the list as the most common pain point in education today. Motivating students and getting them interested in the subject at hand is a challenge that all teachers face. Being responsible for the education of today’s youth is no easy task, but there are ways to design learning spaces that promote a sense of wonder and curiosity. When students feel engaged in learning, they can thrive in college and succeed in their careers. A well-designed learning space increases the likelihood that a student will do well later in life.
Each year research places us closer to finding the optimal learning environment, so classroom design is constantly improving and becoming more student-focused with an emphasis on connection and collaboration. This blog covers the most significant and impactful 2022 classroom interior design trends.
Traditional Versus Balanced Classrooms
Student-centred classrooms are found throughout schools across the country, and both teachers and their students are reaping the benefits. So, what exactly is a student-centred classroom? It’s a learning environment where the focus of learning is shifted from the teacher to the student. A student-centred classroom aims to empower autonomous and independent learners, which is primarily achieved through collaboration and the room’s layout.
All Spaces are Learning Spaces
It’s an old-fashioned idea that learning only occurs in the classroom, time-outs happen in the hallway, and play occurs outside. Research and design have shown that today, all spaces found in a school are possible hubs for learning and as such, learning no longer takes place in only the classroom. Education is bound to happen if the space is open, comfortable, well lit, and visually stimulating. These days, you can find students learning in classrooms, makerspaces, hallways, learning commons, and even in the great outdoors!
Overall, classroom sizes are getting smaller, but the number of students per class is increasing. For this reason, it’s good practice to make every space a learning space. If you can spread out the students, why wouldn’t you? When school design reflects that learning can occur anywhere, teachers and students benefit. Ideally, learning environments should mirror what students will encounter in the real world once they are done with school. The best learning happens when the environment supports collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving, all skills necessary to be a well-rounded adult: the less structure, the better.
Technology and Agile Work Environments
Incorporate Modular Furniture
Studies show that students learn best when seating arrangement is factored in. Seating arrangements should never be static; every piece of furniture in a classroom should be a standalone piece. To add to that, it’s beneficial to have different types of furniture. Each child learns differently, so accommodating with varying styles of furniture is advantageous to the students.
Giving students the option of where they want to sit and how they feel most comfortable is a win for everyone. The student will have better focus, which means they will retain more of what the teacher is instructing.
Good classroom design makes it possible to reconfigure your space depending on what you’re doing at any given time. An exam might require seating to be arranged in the traditional way of desks in rows facing the front of the room. However, if students are working on a group assignment, it’s best to arrange seating in a way where students are facing one another in a more collaborative setup. If a science class is being taught and students are doing their own experiments, perhaps a makerspace is the best use of space. The takeaway here is that classroom design should be adaptive as this design method promotes the best learning environments.
Bring the Outside, Inside
Design for Safety
Classrooms of Today
Science has proven that there are better ways to design classrooms: ways that promote engagement, creativity, and collaboration. If you want students to succeed when they leave the classroom and become contributing members of society, factoring in the design trends discussed in this blog is a great starting point.
Whether it’s using modular furniture, biophilic design, re-arranging the layout of your classroom, or incorporating technology, these are all methods that have shown positive results regarding learning engagement and retention. It’s also important to remember that, like adults, children can learn anywhere. Don’t limit education to only the classroom. Sometimes the best learning happens in places you might not expect.
To learn more on this topic, see the following reference materials we used in creating this article:
The Science of Effective Learning Spaces: https://www.edutopia.org/article/science-of-effective-learning-spaces-melina-uncapher
Plant Power | 5 Benefits of Plants in the Classroom: https://www.teachstarter.com/gb/blog/5-benefits-of-plants-in-the-classroom-2/
Influence of Limitedly Visible Leafy Indoor Plants on the Psychology, Behavior, and Health of Students at a Junior High School in Taiwan: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0013916508314476
Technology in Education: How Technology has Benefited Education: https://adamfard.com/blog/benefits-of-technology-in-education
How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2013/02/28/how-teachers-are-using-technology-at-home-and-in-their-classrooms/