In today’s more progressive classroom design, technology is ubiquitous, collaboration is celebrated, movement is encouraged, and multiple activities take place in adaptable environments.
The British Council for School Environments recognises the right of young people to learn in an environment that is safe, healthy and achieves the highest quality education possible.
At Cobus, we have more than 40 years’ experience in creating inspiring classroom designs, with some of our leading clients including the Royal Agricultural University, St Christopher School, Lancing College, Hartpury College, Stonar School, Wiltshire College and the Cherwell Academy.
We find that by giving students the right tools to build upon one another’s thinking, it will help to cultivate a culture of working together. Therefore, by enhancing classroom designs, student and teacher productivity and creativity is also significantly enhanced.
Appealing to the senses
The term ‘multi-sensory’ invokes thoughts of what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Effectively incorporating these senses into a classroom design can stimulate students’ motivation, which in turn can increase engagement and performance.
Visual stimulation is an integral part of the classroom. Aesthetically pleasing colours have a psychological impact on us, so bright, bold and vibrant designs will enhance the classroom environment, thus boosting student and teacher satisfaction.
Lighting in the classroom is also critical, as it has a significant impact on engagement. As well as affecting what and how well we are able to see, lighting indirectly affects our mood and behaviour.
Natural lighting renovations such as large windows with open views, or high-quality LED lighting, will invoke positive feelings and result in happier students, less absenteeism, fewer illnesses and ultimately, increased engagement.
The power of nature
As humans, we all have a deep-rooted genetic connection to the natural world around us. So, by also incorporating direct or indirect biophilic elements of nature into the classroom such as fresh flowers and plants, positive feelings can be invoked, while reducing stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates.
In addition, it’s important to create a breakout zone or individual support area within the classroom, where children can take some time away from the rest of the class. This will help to improve wellness and alleviate stress, while ultimately fostering interaction between the teacher and their students. For instance, a ‘soft area’ can be used for emotional support and a ‘formal area’ for individual study support.
A home from home
The atmosphere in these areas is important. They should adopt styles such as Resimercial design, which creates a homely, residential look.
Warmth and comfort is key and can be achieved through homely furniture, bright colours and natural textures.
Open and shared spaces also allow for students to imagine, create and daydream, which is crucial in achieving cognitive development.
Keep it inclusive
A classroom designed with an all-inclusive learning space at its heart has a huge impact on the wellbeing of students and their engagement, so it’s fundamental to maximise this when planning a design.
Flexible tables on castors, comfortable chairs and plentiful writing surfaces allow for a variety of activities and encourage collaborative learning experiences, for both the teacher and the students.
Overall, a classroom where stimulating engagement is fostered between teacher and their students will ultimately inspire the mind, boost productivity and build the skills of the next generation.
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Lloyd Coldrick is the managing director at Cobus and is highly experienced in creating inspiring spaces for the education sector. For more information on Cobus, contact Lloyd on [email protected] or 01452 418789.
Sophie Barton is our Features Editor. She a journalist and editor with 20 years’ experience in the national media, specialising in wellbeing and lifestyle.