Schools are constantly advancing their curricula and teaching methods, but they have yet to make changes in one critical aspects: the classroom.
Ray Bordwell, Global Head of Architecture at Whittle School and Studios, talked about how changes in the environment can affect students’ learning ability. He describes that a “21st century school” would possess the following qualities.
Boost Creativity with High Ceilings
A study by the Journal of Consumer Research showed that exposure to high ceilings resulted in better memory recall and problem-solving. It allowed students to think more freely as opposed to low ceilings, which felt confined and restricted. The experiment also showed that the participants were able to apply more abstract thinking in higher ceilings.
Feature Better Acoustics for Better Listening
He also said that schools should consider the movement of sound waves in the room. Furniture can be designed in a way to help the students and teachers hear and see each other. Using carpets, porous ceiling tiles, and curtains can minimize background noise and heighten the voices inside as well.
Choose Relaxing Colors for Improved Concentration
Numerous studies have identified that the color of a room can affect one’s behavior. Bordwell suggested cooler colors like blue and green because they are more relaxing and improve concentration. However, other studies say that warm colors like red and yellow are better for younger students because they are more stimulating. Cooler colors can also promote creative thinking while warmer colors are for prompting actions.
Add Nature to Reduce Stress
Both children and adults thrive better when around nature because it naturally reduces stress. However, it’s not always possible for schools to have outdoor classrooms. So Bordwell suggested having a clear view of nature outside the window as it can also prolong a student’s attention span.
Pair Desks to Promote Cooperative Learning
Instead of individually decorated desks, classrooms can opt for placing them in pairs or groups of three to encourage them to help each other.
Promote More Ventilation and Lighting for a Relaxed Setting
Having a lot of natural light is proven to motivate kids to attend school more frequently and behave better. If natural light isn’t readily available, schools should make it a point to keep the classrooms well-lit to improve academic performance. Darker rooms, after all, make classes appear dull and boring.