Sunday, 31 January 2016

Creating a STUDENT CENTERED classroom

The student


of a previously 



So here is the room BEFORE construction...

Here is the room AFTER i had constructed it the way I wanted it...

And here is the room AFTER deconstruction...

I decided after having 'constructed' theONE6 as to what I thought was THE PERFECT classroom design layout, to 'deconstruct' it and pass it all over to the learners in my room. 

I got to thinking... what is something I could do on the FIRST day back to demonstrate clearly that this was THEIR room as well as mine, that THEIR voice matters, and that I want them to have opinions about things and to be confident to share them.

So DAY 1 will involve some discussion about the ultimate classroom design. 

Okay... so Day 1 is over and we didn't really get to 'discuss' great classroom design... but what was interesting was that when the kids first came in no one really commented about there being no desks, chairs, tables set out. It was rather hilarious... they all just grabbed cushions, bean bags and chairs and sat on those in a group. Not one of them asked about the furniture. On reflection...I should have waited for one of them to ask...and we could have worked like this until then!

After morning tea I decided to set them the challenge of designing our space. To work in groups, pairs, or individually to come up with a classroom design which 'makes sense' to how a classroom works!

Here is a short video of the process...

Anyway, the end result is a room which will be workable and most importantly is one THEY have had a say in. 

It was an interesting experiment to carry out. It did not have the impact I thought it that I mean a lot of the kids would have been just as satisfied if I had done it already. Why? I would LOVE some feedback about that. So all you lot in theONE6... reply and comment about whether you think it is important to have a say in the room design OR whether it doesn't really bother you!


  1. I think that in some ways they are already so conditioned to "living and being" in the environment we create, and also that sometimes that is just easier! Less thinking required! Just like for some learners when we start the self directed agentic learning processes, they would rather do what we tell them than plan and take responsibility for their own learning because it means they perhaps don't have to "think" as much! Now you have given them control over their environment I think you might find that they will continue to move things around to suit their learning- rather than it "having to go back into a set place" and then they will appreciate it more, and then you can enter into the specific learning about what sort of furniture and arrangements suit with specific learning tasks and learning styles quite naturally as part of the ongoing learning! My two cents worth anyway! :)

    1. I completely agree Karyn! I have discussed how they might have to 'unlearn' some things about learning and how they see themselves as a learner during their time in my room. Something that will help is me modelling being in a different space each day! Our room has no front or back and is a free-form space where they know things can change as they feel it needs to:)
      Thanks for your feedback - always nice to hear others thoughts.

  2. Great idea - I have done this before as well but I also had to share a class with another teacher (in highschool during our prep another teacher uses our room) so I had to accommodate them as well. Difficult for a social science/English teacher to share space with a math teacher - we sometimes have very different approaches. Ss loved designing the room. So glad to see you did this - I think it is a great start to the year.

    1. Hi Ms Lees,
      it really was a great way to SHOW the kids that this is their room! Regardless of the variance in contribution, they learnt that they have a voice and it matters!

  3. I am curious, as well. I'm wondering if it doesn't seem to matter because that is the way it has always been done - the teacher setting up the room - so students have never even imagined designing their own space. Curious about what a classroom would look like if THEY could designed it from scratch. Wondering if they would fall back on the old school narratives and conventions, or blow it out of the box imagining something COMPLETELY new.

    1. I am curious too! I am going to ASK them if they think it was important and get some reasons for answers - of course I will share these back to you all! I know some of my kids (regardless of choice) will sit in the same place everyday and still want 'my own desk' - is this because of 6 years of this type of classroom? I think it probably is. I have discussed with my kids that they may have to 'unlearn' and 'relearn' this year! Will keep you posted:)


I would love some feedback on my post...