In addition to effective teacher technique, appropriate classroom design can be used to help promote positive behaviour from students during lessons. From simple layout changes to whole-school redesigns, there are many ways to boost positive behaviour using classroom design.
As part of a series of education-related blog posts, we are covering how classroom design can impact everything from communication to classroom acoustics. And this post looks at how some clever design choices will promote positive behaviour.
Add Ambiguity To Who Owns The Layout
Let students choose their layout – under your supervision.
The older your learners are, the more important it is to have a classroom which can respond to the need for them to feel responsible for their own learning – and learning environment. Beyond the pastoral need to include character building and teaching responsibility to teens and soon-to-be-young-adults, it makes sense to have a classroom which is suited to your andragogical teaching methods. This ethos is supported by fig. 12 in this comprehensive study from Barrett et al in Building and Environment.
Research, group and other unsupervised working can be hampered by static classroom layouts. Although there will be plenty of instances when teacher-led lessons require the traditional layout of desks facing the front to see teacher and smartboard, we are seeing an increasing amount of schools and colleges which cannot easily switch to group or isolated working simply due to their immobile or hard-to-manouvere furniture.
Investing in lightweight yet durable individual desks and chairs means the same classroom that is set up in the traditional front-facing rows layout, can be altered in an instant to how the students want to sit for their next task.
Although the teacher will assume overall control, the more flexible the layout of your furniture, the more your students can experiment and change their layout to suit their working. This injected level of ownership puts the ball firmly in the maturing student’s court; so the onus is on them to find a layout which results in them working productively.
Open Up Different Spaces For Different Activities
By having an effective storage strategy or by re-designing internal walls.
With intelligently-chosen storage facilities, more flexibility can be found in your classroom’s space planning. Secure storage of equipment and supplies can be relocated into corridors or other rooms and products, such as, storage walls can be built inside classrooms in order to free up more space.
Combining an effective storage strategy with the easy process of redesigning and positioning internal walls can add further flexibility to your classroom design. Just because your classrooms have always been that shape, size and in that location doesn’t mean they need to stay that way.
Design Away Distractions
So the only options are productive.
This isn’t a suggestion of making a classroom so clean and minimal that it becomes sterile and clinical, but rather making sure that all negative distractions are removed.
A classroom refresh to remove any tempting flakes in the paintwork, tightening loose notice boards or screws in the tired furniture will give a becoming-disengaged student one less thing to play with. Clean walls which students are responsible for helping fill with related educational content, again, promotes ownership and pride in their learning environment.
With additional stretch and challenge resources placed on the walls by their teachers, the distractions around the room can come in the form of helpful facts, tips and techniques. The most pleasing feedback heard on this idea was from an A-Level student who once told me, “What I like about this classroom is that even when you look for a distraction because you’re a bit bored, you end up seeing something interesting and you learn something from it too.”
Also, again, proper storage can mean the classroom is a tidier place to work which subconsciously leads to less distraction and temptation to make performance match the untidy environment.
Be Comfortable In YOUR Classroom
More comfortable teachers are more confident. And then more in control.
Giallo and Little deduced that “there is a positive association between self-efficacy in behaviour management, preparedness and classroom experiences.” They found, the more confident a teacher was in their environment, the more likely they were to be able to encourage positive behaviour.
Find Out More About YOUR Learning Environment And What Can Be Done To Improve It
There a host of options available when it comes to designin classrooms which promote positive behaviour. Simple refreshes in terms of decoration and furniture, partial and full refurbishments, or even a new-building can all be more affordable than you may first think.
We have put together a guide to help answer any questions you may have about refurbishments, refreshes and rebuilds.
We have included the right questions to ask staff, students and visitors to find out more about your own building. You can then prioritise your attention to what is actually most important.
Press the yellow Download Now button.