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“Nowhere else are large group of individuals packed so closely together for so many hours, yet expected to perform at peak efficiency on difficult learning tasks and to interact harmoniously.” Carol Weinstein. The design focuses on this element as a number of behavioral and personality disorders have been noted in students across the globe.
This design ditches the traditional row seating arrangement and focuses on what is called “flexible classroom design”. These feature portable, relaxing, adaptable furniture that encourage various sitting or standing options. A variety of seating options is made available to students along with office chairs like bean bags, large cushions, rocking chair . Working tables will be round and moveable, while also limited just to cater the exact number of students. The tables can be scattered around the room, or used in an orderly manner. This reduces the claustrophobic effect a regular classroom has by enhancing student movement and participation. It also helps the teacher pay attention to every student in the classroom, which is a challenge in old-fashioned classrooms, as the students in the back rows are often neglected or inattentive. The classrooms is catered to effortlessly integrate group work and partnership that can be swiftly shared and conferred with the whole class. The emphasis on the seating arrangement is essential, as crowding has been directly linked to violent behaviors amongst students or individuals. A large carpet is placed in the center of the classroom, especially designed for class group meetings or instructional purposes. No one seating is the best but one that is compatible with the type of material learnt, classroom expectations and, characteristics of the learners.
The room is divided into smaller corners, reading, fiddle, meditation and play corners. Simply the existence of a library room has added to the number of hours in free time pupils spend reading. (Schickedanz, 1993). The Library should stocked with general knowledge books and understandable novels, and rack of newspaper. The fiddle area is essentially small corner with fidget toys, gym balls. Its purpose is to let students relax or allow their feelings by out by making use of these fidgeting objects. The meditation corner helps the kids get a sense of calm, or get their attention redirected, by taking part in meditating activites. The students can decide when they want to take part in any of these corners to rejuvenate. These corners would not be divided by a wall, but inclusion of dramatic play areas, math science, library corners, fidget areas help associate connections between these disciplines. The sizes of the material used will be catered to the average size for this age group of 9-11 year olds. Having a seating arrangement appropriate for oneself, increases confidence and sense of ownership. (Hunter, 2005). As portrayed in the design, there isn’t a teachers area, there is a desk but the teacher is required to freely roam around in a flexible classroom setting. This ensure, one, the teacher is not the center of attention. Second, teachers can pay attention to every student across the room.
A classroom should be easily modifiable and flexible so they can adapt the need of the hour or for imminent changes. It should create a sense of ownership amongst the students. (Hunter, 2005).
Lighting has been considered to have both direct and indirect effects on a individual’s mood. The reading room has one wall and considerably dim lights compared to the rest of the classroom. Students under the high-pressure sodium vapor lamps had the slowest rates of growth and development as well as the poorest levels of attendance and achievement. These findings indicate that lights have important nonvisual effects on students who are regularly exposed to them in classrooms. (Hathway, 1995).The naturalness standard identifies with the ecological parameters that are required for physical solace. These are light, noise, temperature, air quality and ‘connections to nature. Natural light is highly recommended , considering this, the room will have a large window with blinds. This will not only ensure the naturalness of lighting but also the quantity of light required for specific activities. The window will also be accessible in order to ensure fresh air from time to time.
The windows overlook the playground with variety of play choices and a lush green view. Nature helps an individual to experience it both as an exit from compound and mechanical society and helps give one the larger picture as compared to everyday problems. Nature also helps ones confidence and control (Hunter, 2005). The classroom is one the first floor increasing the accessibility to the playground. A large court modifiable into basketball or other sport activites. The rest of the ground has mowed grass grounds and large shade trees. There are three water fountains and seating areas around it. A designated meditating area is made available in the playground, surrounded by tress, and water fountains, adding to the naturalness. A study investigated the outcomes of yoga program in educational classes on the motor abilities and social behavior issues of 6–8-year-old children and concluded substantial and positive variations in overall motor abilities score. It also changed social behaviors and better use of knowledge studied. (Foletto et al., 2006). An attempt has been made to bring these components within the classroom with portable pot tress, nature inspiring charts, a small slide. Central courtyards in hot and dry climates help trap the cool air and provide shading.
Studies have suggested, for a student to achieve their full potential, also depends on symbolic and fundamental features of the classroom. Bulletin boards are attached to walls, ensuring recap of lessons, to integrate values and class group photographs. A section of the board is designated to art work by the students. Key impacts are promotion of the idea that all students are appreciated learners and sense of safe space. (Cheryan et al., 2014). This will foster subliminal learning, expected to reduce stress or violence.
Studies suggest increase in blood pressure with exposure to red light, while blue causes a slower pulse rate low body temperature and less appetite. (Engelbrecht, 2003).Some students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders) might be more sensitive to color in the learning environment due to heightened sensory responses and strong visual processing abilities. (Freed & Parsons, 1997). A warm drab color scheme of tan or sand should be a desirable color for the classroom design. (Gaines et al., 2011)
There are several considerations that need to be made before attempting a design for classrooms in a developing nation and overcrowded city like Mumbai, like space available , crowding, noise, cultural backgrounds. As the proposal is specific to schools educating pupils from low income families there are considerations like availability of resources, quality of the available resources, psychology of low income strata kids and psychological disorders prevailing in this setting.
For example: Multilevel growth-curve modeling analyses conducted concluded, aggression level amongst low income youth was considerably high and harassment towards girl and bullying. (Lewis et al., 2014).
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