As I enter the dismal, dark abyss known as English class, a feeling of dread washes over me. Laziness and desire to sleep rush through every cell of my body as I long to be anywhere but here. I sit in my assigned seat in the stifling rows, downcast because I don’t have an opportunity to talk to my friends at all. The “question of the day” is up on the Promethean board, which if giving of a dreary glow, almost inviting me to sleep. I feel as if all my creativity and desire to learn is being swallowed by the shadows covering the room from the limited light from the narrow window in the door. Silence covers the room like a blanket, giving way to only the sounds of pencil on paper. The scent of paper coats the inside of my nostrils as my pencil moves in the form of letters that I am barely aware of writing. The silence, boring scent, and lack of creativity put me in a trance for the rest of class. As I leave, I realize I have learned nothing.
As I enter the cheerful, bright haven known as English class, a feeling of ease washes over me. Eagerness and alertness rush through every cell of my body as I long for the class to start. I sit in a seat next to my friends, talking about our days. A thought provoking quick write is on the promethean board, which is in the perfect light due to all the open windows, and countless ideas of what to write about flood into my head. I feel as if my creativity and desire to learn are being fed by the natural light and conversation with my friends. The sound of students talking to each other covers the room like a blanket, only giving way if the teacher needs to say something. Multiple scents of nature, air fresheners, and coffee coat the inside of my nostrils, making me even more aware of my surroundings. The chatter, wonderful scents, and amount of creativity make me want to learn. As I leave, I realize I learned more in this class than any other.
Having a productive classroom environment is just as important as the way that material is learned. If the classroom is bare and dark, the class will not want to get involved. On the other side of the spectrum, if the classroom is colorful and bright, the class will be more inclined to participate. “IGeners reign supreme in their belief that they can juggle more tasks at than once thought humanly possible.” (Rewired, 2010). The classroom should be versatile and allow for multitasking while also being a comfortable place for the students to be.
It is not always easy to give off a welcoming and thought provoking environment. Natural light is a big plus in classes. If all the light is coming from standard recess lighting, students are more likely to zone out then if the windows are letting in sunlight. Sunlight also helps boost creativity, which is an important skill. The scent of the room is also very important. If the room smells like paper and pencils, the students automatically think “boring”. Instead, using air fresheners, home-like smells (ex. Coffee), or the outdoors. Noise is a very controversial aspect for a classroom. Many students like at least a soft noise in the background while they work. I am one of these students. Opening a window would allow the noises of nature to be a background. Allowing student conversation while it is not necessary for them all to be listening is great as well because it allows them to share thoughts on the material or serve as a small break. It also promotes collaboration. Classroom set up plays a key role in having a good classroom environment. The standard rows or desk may have worked in the past but they aren’t working now. Students get bored with them very easily. My dream classroom would have many different desk setups around it. In one corner, there would be a few desks together around a white board. In the middle of the room, there would be no desks but a medium sized circle of chairs to have discussions. The far side of the room would have couches and large bean-bags to sit on and either do assigned research, additional research, or reading. The front of the room would be set up for instruction. An electronic board would be mounted on the wall and a semicircle of desks would be around it. This setup would allow for multiple things to be going on to increase productivity while also giving a more relaxed feel. The walls of the classroom should not be bare either. The bland grey of cinder blocks is not very good for creativity. Instead, have colorful posters on the wall that have ties to the material while still being interesting. The overall feel of the class should be welcoming and homey. This would allow students to feel more comfortable and creative.
The way a classroom looks and feels has a major effect how well the students process and understand the material. If the room itself engages the kids, the material will be easier to teach. It is very important to have a good atmosphere for the students so that they can flourish. “A flexible ‘learning studio’ approach that can be reconfigured when needed will be an important part of the blueprint for 21st century learning. (21st Century Learning, 2009). The room must be versatile with places for different activities and should be easily moveable. It is imperative that the classroom be comfortable for the students.
Rosen, Larry D. Rewired: Understanding the Generation and the Way They Learn. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.