Thursday, January 24, 2013


Read a very interesting article today. It was a summary, essentially, of a study conducted in England during the last school year - 2011-2012.

Here's the link.

For anyone who has ever read this blog - especially anyone who has read it on a regular basis - it comes as no surprise that this study + outcome fascinates me as a teacher. I have been interested in classroom design and space for the past few years, even starting to put some pieces together for a room transformation last year before I went on this endeavor of teaching without a home classroom.

A couple years ago, some colleagues and I set about to create some ideas and gather information about what the ideal 21st-Century learning environment might look like (sorry non-Edina readers, closed access at this point). This was a pretty eye-opening experience, both from a standpoint of learning and from seeing the enthusiasm in so many other people - including my principal!

So what stood out to me about this particular article? First off, I think it's really cool stuff. Also, it seems as though there may be some congruency between new ways of looking at how we educate students and the environment in which this education happens. In other words, I think there's room and reason to challenge ways of thinking in each department. Finally - and this is the biggie - dealt with the effect on student achievement.

To quote: "The paper, published in the journalBuilding and the Environment, found that classroom design could be attributed to a 25% impact, positive or negative, on a student’s progress over the course of an academic year. The difference between the best- and worst-designed classrooms covered in the study? A full year’s worth of academic progress."

That's some crazy stuff right least worth thinking about. Who knows, maybe even better environments lead to more effective teaching, which magnifies the benefits of the room effect on students, etc., etc. See where this could go?

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