The New Year is a perfect time to hit the refresh button. Habits, attitudes, practices, and environments can all benefit from a new lens and/or a little polish that can add some sparkle and clarity to the existing view. While a lot of resolutions fall under the umbrella of personal changes, making some resolutions to refresh learning environments can do wonders for positively impacting student and teachers alike.
First impression are garnered from what is seen. The appearance of the learning environment is what creates the initial reaction for all those who enter it. As students, teachers, and other stakeholders interact with the elements found within the environment, the overall tone and feel becomes apparent. The ability to comfortably and easily navigate and utilize all the offerings within these educational settings can make or break a student’s willingness to fully engage in the learning taking place. By refreshing one or more aspects of the environment, teachers can help students bring a new eagerness to their endeavors within it.
- Accessible Resources– Nothing can derail a person’s train of thought or drive like having to repeatedly hit the pause button to locate the right resources. Yes, part of learning is the procurement of information, but locating the tangible resources needed for hands-on learning, constructing, creating, and the like should be something that is done with ease. When consumables are clearly labeled and easily accessible, students are able to get caught up in their pursuits and see those thoughts through to ah-ha moments and showcased learning products. The fix for the current environment could be a singular resource center, labeled resources areas, mobile resource displays, or simply clearly labeled storage containers. Making students aware of the whereabouts of the necessary accoutrements when diving into learning lets the full potential for creativity and thoughtful expression flourish.
- Designated Learning Zones– Many classroom environments are wide-open spaces which is fantastic, but designating smaller zones within this larger space can do wonders for increasing productivity. When students understand expectations and know the resources available within specific areas, then they are more likely to quickly engage and stay on task. The zones may be reading nooks, math centers, technology corners, construction zones, etc. With clearly communicated expectations and accessible resources, students can get in the zone for learning when they enter these designated areas.
- Flexible Seating– Nothing can transform the look and feel of a space like the incorporation of flexible seating that allows for options in comfort/style and configuration. Tips for Flexible Seating Arrangements explores many of the options available ranging from DIY projects to affordable additions that allow form and function to facilitate a more user-friendly learning environment. When students can make choices about sitting, standing, and/or any other comfort and function combination, they feel more at ease and more personally prepared to engage with the activities and learning.
When it comes to resolutions, more than just personal changes can do wonders for the collective. By making adjustments to a tired learning environment, teachers and students can enter into learning feeling inspired and refreshed. When accessibility, understanding, and flexibility play key roles in the transformation of a learning environment, all who enter it are impacted.