Designing rounded classrooms

Published: June 23rd, 2020

Classroom design hasn’t changed for 200 years, with the teacher at the front and students facing forward. The classroom environment can transform the way students listen, learn and contribute, therefore recognising the importance of sight and sound on development and progression is key.

Asking the questions, ‘can every child see?’ and ‘can every child hear?’ will spark inspiration to transform the learning environment into one that enhances the viewing angle and experience for students.

Stephen Holden, Executive Head of Prestolee MAT, explains three ways teachers have been innovating with classroom design to create a rounded approach with no cheap seats – simultaneously supporting both teachers and students.

The power of vision
For students at the front of the classroom who sit near the display device, they have a clear field of vision of both the screen and the teacher. However, those at the back have a distorted view, which can impact the way students learn and their concentration levels within lessons.

Innovating with existing technology in and around the school, such as disused projectors, old school TVs and PC monitors or even a brand new ActivPanel interactive display, and positioning these in different areas – can enable all students to see the display wherever they are in the classroom, improving visibility and engagement.

Sounding the benefits
Additionally, within classrooms there are an array of invisible barriers to learning when it comes to sound, particularly for students positioned away from the teacher. Embracing basic microphone set ups can allow teachers to speak in a level tone and be assured that everyone in the classroom will hear clearly.

Not only benefiting the students, a microphone can also help to ease stress on a teacher’s voice. Reducing the need to raise voices for student engagement, teachers can create a calmer learning environment for students.

Addressing misconceptions when they happen
Creating a rounded classroom with students viewing display devices at their ease and hearing the teacher wherever they are, ‘unchains’ the teacher from the front of the class.

The teacher now has added freedom to work from different areas of the classroom, supporting students as and when it is needed. Working in such a way can enable teachers to address misconceptions when they happen – supporting student development and progress.

Desk position and sound have a direct correlation to a student’s learning and development. Innovating with the classroom design and keeping a rounded approach in mind can enhance the learning environment for students and improve the overall experience within the classroom.