A line from the new education documentary “Most Likely to Succeed” raises the question of student’s abilities to make decisions when we don’t allow students to make decisions. School is too often about content, memorizing and recalling, when the real focus should be on raising future adults, future adults capable of making informed decisions.
In the original article (10+ Tips for Using Brain-Based Methods to Redesign Your Classroom) Erin Klein explores brain-based methods for redesigning your classroom. Below is a brief summary.
- Layout and Use of Space: are there different spaces within your room that serve different purposes?
- Furniture Choices: are there choices of furniture for students, or is all seating uniform in nature?
- Color Selections: is your room full of bright colors and busy patterns?
- Lighting: what sources of natural light exist in your room? Are there ways to introduce other light sources besides traditional fluorescents?
- Nature: is your classroom sterile and free of living organisms?
- Environmental Print and Design: are your walls plastered with busy posters? Are they a resource for learning?
- Organization of Materials: is your room organized as a workspace for students or a storage area for supplies?
When considering how you might redesign your classroom, why not ask the students? What is their vision of an ideal learning space? More often than not, it’s not what currently exists.
In another article (Campfires in Cyberspace) with a similar message, David Thornburg, Ph.D. suggests that learning takes place “in four spaces, only a few of which are honored in most schools.” These four learning spaces are: 1) campfires (information); 2) watering holes (conversation); 3) caves (concept); and 4) life (context).
What are some ways you might redesign your classroom AND involve students? Imagine the possibilities!