Take a look around the classroom. Do the students look engaged, or do they appear to be in a more passive state, listening rather than participating?
Passive learning follows a more traditional format, where the teacher talks and the students listen. Classroom furniture is often arranged in neat rows of rectangular school desks, designed to be uniform in nature, and encourage listening.
Engaged students, on the other hand, are in active learning mode, and comfortably ensconced in classroom furniture that’s adjustable, moveable, comfortable, and ergonomically designed. This approach to classroom furniture has a number of benefits, including:
- Spending hours in rigid, hard, uncomfortable chairs leads to fatigue, poor circulation, and a range of aches and pains. This can reduce the ability to focus, participate, and learn. With classroom furniture that’s comfortable, adjustable, and moveable, students can shift positions and locations throughout the day, minimizing physical discomfort and facilitating participation in activities.
- Having classroom furniture that is easily moveable encourages collaboration, as students can team up to work on assignments.
- Teachers appreciate the learning opportunities presented with a flexible class arrangement. For instance, they can organize classrooms to align with different styles of student learning, as well as group and individual lessons.
Active Learning Puts Students at the Centre and in Charge
According to Professor Robert Talbert, co-author of ‘A Space for Learning,’ a research paper on active learning spaces, to fully realize the benefits of active learning, the physical space, or the classroom, needs to have the resources that will support active, participatory and engaged students. It’s about putting students at the centre of learning, having them take charge. The teacher, he says, is there to create the environment, and ensure students understand the material.
Now that we know what active learning is and how it benefits students, how can one design such a classroom? Here are some areas to consider:
- Pedagogy: Classrooms should be designed to support transitions among multiple teaching modes, but also allow for peer-to-peer learning and individual learning. It’s important that students are exposed to how these environments can enable, support and allow them to take ownership of their learning.
- Technology: Classrooms need to be able to integrate, use and allow access to BYOD and instructional technology tools and devices. They need to also incorporate tools that support collaboration and support learning styles with both analog and digital means.
- Space: Design for visual and physical access. You want to give every student the best seat in the house and also provide both the instructor and student with access to each other. Within your design, include support for quick reconfiguration among multiple modes, and wall protection for table and chair movement. Classroom furniture needs to also support a range of postures to enhance wellbeing.
Classroom Furniture That Enables Active Learning
Below are some examples of classroom furniture that will engage and inspire students in their learning process.
- Node Chair: This chair is highly mobile. Students are able to swivel effortlessly around and shift focus throughout the room. It has an adjustable worksurface, perfect for students of all shapes and sizes and accommodates both left- and right-handed students.
- Verb tables: These classroom tables are specifically designed to support different learning modes. The chevron shaped table improves sight lines, encourages collaboration and helps define the personal work area. It also encourages easy shifts between lecture, discussion, and project work.
- media:scape: media:scape integrates technology and furniture to let teachers and students share digital information instantly. Face-to-face seating also encourages student engagement and team collaboration.
Put control of the learning space in the hands of students and teachers. We have knowledgeable staff waiting to help you create a classroom that will fully capitalize on the benefits of active learning. Contact POI today for more information about classroom furniture.