Rounded classrooms: how to get one

university students using technology in a class lecture

Published: September 1st, 2020

As an aspiring school leader with a vested interest in educational technology, what does effective learning mean to you? 

Perhaps it’s about adapting the school’s teaching to all students’ abilities and strengths. Or maybe it means teachers delivering engaging, interactive lessons that motivate and inspire pupils all throughout the academic year. 

Whatever effective learning is to you, have you ever considered how the setup of the classroom could impact lesson delivery? A traditional layout, with the teacher at the front and rows of pupils facing them, works perfectly for a lecture-style lesson. But what about a lesson packed with digital learning, interactive projects and holistic pedagogical techniques?

Would a rounded classroom setup work better? It’s an amphitheatre-inspired setup, with the teacher in the middle. It’s also an interactive classroom that delivers a more rounded approach to learning.

Here’s how to get a rounded classroom in 2024:

Design the space

The way schools and teachers deliver lessons has hardly changed for decades. 

Teachers are often stuck at the front of the class, using a board or interactive display as a prompt to guide learning. But there’s nothing to say the classroom has to be designed in this way.

Consider the classroom space and the central point of lessons. Is it an interactive display like an ActivPanel? If so, arrange the desks in a semicircle around it so everyone can see and hear effectively.

Put the teacher in the centre

Central to a rounded classroom is the teacher’s physical location; at the heart of the lesson. 

If there is enough space, consider ways to allow everyone to enjoy a front-row seat. If you’re more limited, how about moving all the desks to the edge of the room and make one or two rings instead of rows?

A rounded classroom is also metaphorical; there should be ways to move lessons away from a linear delivery. Instead, consider a flywheel approach to learning that allows for constant feedback, improvement and learning.

Optimising tools

A rounded classroom is powered by interaction and collaboration. And there’s no better way to achieve this, than with technology.

Check what tools are available to teachers in your school. Maybe there are some the school has been using for years, others might be new to teachers. Then, look for ways to make small tweaks to lessons by including collaborative projects on interactive, digital tools. 

Edtech, apps and digital lesson delivery software can all help give teachers more flexibility to dynamically adapt their teaching, gain valuable feedback on students’ learning and get better results. Better still, a rounded classroom can help minimise workload and streamline assessment processes.