Can the right educational furniture spell the difference between an ‘A’ and a ‘B’? Could the chair a child sits in impact whether they grasp complicated mathematical principles? Could the amount of light in a room affect whether they learn to love Shakespeare?
Experienced teachers, involved parents and high-quality learning materials are all important elements in a good education; but most schools give little thought to the actual setup of the classroom. In reality, it can have an enormous impact on student engagement and the classroom dynamic.
The most effective classrooms encourage collaboration, active engagement and the opportunity to engage in real-life scenarios. Students also learn best when they are given a certain amount of freedom regarding where and how they complete their work, and when they are able to be more physically active. The right education furniture can assist teacher in fostering a captivating classroom environment.
- Collaborative Spaces – In the traditional classroom, desks are placed in rows facing the teacher. All eyes face forward, and student interaction is discouraged. However, seating students together at tables or turning their desks to face one another creates an environment where open dialogue, collaboration and creativity can flourish. Students can work together to analyze a text, work through an equation or compose a solution to a complicated problem in a way that emulates the dynamics of a real-world team.
- Personal Space and Privacy – Not all learning can or should be done in groups. Sometimes students need to focus on a project on their own. They may need a space that shuts out distractions. The classroom should be versatile enough to allow for both group and individual work. This may mean having desks that can be pushed together and apart. Some teachers may have tables in one part of the room and separate learning carrels in another. Movable dividers are another option for creating privacy and individual boundaries.
Versatile Writing Surfaces – A versatile classroom enables teachers to engage students in a range of activities that encourages them to use skills in new ways while appealing to diverse learning profiles. Students might work on their own at a desk, spread out with others at a table, or even use vertical spaces such as windows and whiteboards to diagram ideas and equations.
- Ample Light, Ample Shade – The best classrooms are suffused with natural light. Large windows create a sense of open space, and natural light is easiest on the eyes. A room that is too dark can increase depression in the students as well as the teacher. However, most classes also use digital media, including computers, iPads, projectors and interactive whiteboards. Too much light impairs visibility on these devices and impairs learning. Install high quality window coverings so teachers can adjust the light according to the activity.
- Standing Desks – Students spend up to nine hours a day at school. Most of that time is spent at a desk. That sedentary posture has a negative impact on student engagement as well as physical wellbeing.
- Comfortable Seating – While standing is beneficial for students, they’ll still spend a good portion of their day in a chair. Uncomfortable seating can make students more distracted and less productive. Consider the shape of the chairs, the material and the adjustments that can be made to accommodate a student’s size and height. A chair that swivels can allow a student the freedom of motion to expel excess energy while remaining on task.
At Creative Office Furniture, we know that educational furniture is an important part of student life. By choosing furniture that is versatile and comfortable while allowing for collaboration and physical movement, schools can increase engagement, creativity, and learning.