The physical environment of the classroom plays a crucial role in ensuring effective learning.
Here are some Not-so-frequently Asked Questions that every teacher should ask to turn the physical classroom environment into the best possible learning resource.
Q 1. Why should I pay attention to the physical environment of the classroom?
Answer: Loris Malaguzzi, an early childhood educator says- “There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment.”
Therefore, we must pay attention to the physical environment. The physical environment of the classroom can help us:
- provide a comfortable learning space to the learners
- reduce obstructions to learning
- minimise distractions
- increase learner participation
Q 2. What do I do to provide a comfortable learning space to my learners?
Answer: There are four areas in the classroom that can cause discomfort to the learners. Making adjustments to these four areas can help us provide a comfortable learning space to the learners. These four areas are:
- Lighting- the room must be well lit and bright.
- Temperature- the room temperature must neither be too hot nor too cold.
- Ventilation- the air must be regulated as lack of oxygen can cause lethargy.
- Seats- the seats must be comfortable and in proper condition.
Q 3. How can I reduce obstructions to learning?
Answer: Obstructions are telltale signs of chaos. Organising the physical space effectively can help reduce obstructions to learning. This can be done by:
- placing the resources so that they are easily accessible
- keeping space between desks to ensure free movement
- marking and labelling resources in the class prevent time wastage
- removing all the unused material from the classroom to create free space
Q 4. How do I minimise distractions?
Answer: Research suggests that children these days have a short attention span. Therefore, it is important for us to ensure that the distractions in the class are minimal so that the learners can concentrate on learning. Distractions in the classroom can be minimised by ensuring that:
- the learners who love chatting are not seated next to each other
- every learner can see you and you can see every learner
- the displays are well organised and not too colourful
- every learner understands and abides by classroom rules and regulations
Q 5. How do I increase learner engagement and participation?
Answer: Seating arrangement plays a crucial role in increasing learner engagement and participation. Here is how we can use the seating arrangement to ensure learner engagement and participation.
- Use the Rows/Columns arrangement for independent learning, where all the learners need to look at the teacher.
- Use the Horseshoe/U-Shaped arrangement for large groups, where learners need to interact with the teacher as well as the other learners.
- Use the Cluster seating arrangement for collaborative learning in small groups, where the learners need to collaborate or interact with each other to learn effectively.
- Use the Circular arrangement for whole class learning, where the teacher does not participate but merely acts as a facilitator and observer.
If you want to dive deeper into this area of teaching and learning, please feel free to check out our course on Management of Classroom Dynamics.