When you think back to high school, middle school, or elementary school, how do you remember the classroom being set up? Many of us would agree that the predominant classroom design consisted of either rows or small pods of front-facing desks or tables. There was a front of the room and a back of the room, an ideal setup for lecture-style classes.
But in a world where many students rank lecture among the least preferred learning style, this design doesn’t seem to make much sense—and schools are beginning to take note. Many schools are switching up classrooms in an effort to make them more conducive to learning and appealing to students. Breakaway learning studios, space for collaboration, and more are becoming more prominent than ever.
When asked what a “successful classroom” would look like in 10 years, here’s what teachers on Education Week had to say:
“Common space, Chromebooks, whiteboards, and windows. Lots and lots of windows.” ~Brad Clark
“Does there even need to be a “front” of the room?” ~Jennie Maglera
“Schools and classrooms must be redesigned to allow students and teachers the needed space and opportunity to do the types of things that will create the leaders of tomorrow.” ~Lori Nazareno
William Tolley notes that as teachers integrate new technology and teaching strategies into their daily lessons, “not all learning environments are equal to the task of supporting such experimental learning.”
Hillary Greene points out one problem with the redesign of classrooms: the fact that times are ever changing. It’s a slow process to change something as encompassing and far-reaching as the U.S.’s public education system, and too often we complete those changes just in time to realize that they are now outdated and again need to be brought up to speed. Greene suggests an obvious, yet overlooked solution: why not make our classrooms as flexible as possible? This would allow teachers to create unique learning spaces that can be changed as necessary.
What would your ideal classroom look like in ten years? What capabilities or types of space would you have to make learning efficient, effective, and fun for students?