articles, opinions, and research about teaching and learning

The learning space

In the classroom environment, space is organised to reflect the kinds of learning that take place within it.

The placement of desks or tables can invite children to communicate with each other or to learn in isolation. The classroom walls can feature the concrete products of children's learning, and lead them to take pride in their accomplishments, or they can imply that learning is an abstract thing, that happens invisibly.

We, as teachers, can place ourselves as the centre of focus and attention, or we can step to the side and leave the learners themselves in a central position. The physical arrangement of the classroom and its visual aspect influences learning in profound ways.

As a teacher, you have the opportunity to explore and combine different models for organising the classroom to develop a classroom environment that works best for you and your class.

You may even find that different models work best in different circumstances, and the you - by harnessing the energies of the children in your class - can switch the classroom from one arrangement to another, to best meet the demands or a lesson or project.

To review some of the options, go to:

To find out about organising resources for active learning, go to:

Space beyond the classroom

The classroom is only one of the places where children learn. And as teachers, we have the opportunity to take advantage of different spaces to spark different kinds of learning.

We can make use of school gardens and playgrounds, of parks, even of businesses within our own communities.

For more information, go to Field visits for active learning.

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Last revised April, 1999
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