Without doubt the key contribution an Architect or Designer can make to the classrooms of today and tomorrow is to form a link between pedagogy and the physical environment. Designing for the 21st Century is critical to student success and teacher well-being.
Imagine a small group of students tasked with discussing and building a cardboard model of the stratum in a rainforest. There might be six students in the group, each with a research focus and a group activity to summarise and present their findings.
Logically, the group will need a workspace, IT connection, work bench, tools, ideas board, furniture to enable the activity to take place, good lighting, some separation from other groups and a generally comfortable environment.
Imagine then a small space at the back of a crowded classroom, small desks which need to double as research space and maker space, notebooks only for recording ideas, constant interruptions from the prying eyes of other students and a ‘mission brown’ coloured wall dominating their cramped space.
There is little wonder why some teachers can’t pursue new learning models when the spaces they occupy don’t allow for it. There is also little wonder why student enthusiasm towards the task remains low in the second example.
Design Architect Matthew Greene, of Paynter Dixon Constructions, spoke with Informa in advance of his address at the School Planning Design & Construction conference in Sydney later this month, where key aspects of 21st Century design and construction will be explored.
Matthew Greene, Design Architect, Paynter & Dixon, is due to speak at the School Planning Design & Construction conference later this month in Sydney.
“There is now substantial research regarding the effect of the educational environment on learning outcomes; and many important changes that need to be made from the traditional classroom model.”
“For example, we have noticed excellent results from schools who have paid attention to acoustics, avoiding the use of hard chairs on hard floors. Or schools that have implemented semi-flexible learning spaces, through the use of sliding screens, folding doors & the use of retractable curtains. These are small and simple measures that can make all the difference”.
Matthew Greene will divulge full details of some of Paynter Dixon’s contemporary learning success stories, including work with St Agatha’s Catholic Primary School, at the School Planning Design & Construction conference later this month.