Having the right infrastructure in schools

Having the right infrastructure in schools

CRUCIAL COMPONENT: Comfortable and well-designed classrooms have the potential to enhance students’ learning potential.

During the 1990s and earlier, offices were laid out and organised to promote individual work, focused on isolation in the form of cubicles and enclosed workspaces. The idea behind this was that enclosing employees and containing their workspaces would make them focus on their work and be effective without any distractions.

As time went by, however, companies and offices began to realise that collaboration and interaction often result in more innovative thinking, a stronger sense of teamwork and a shared purpose. Sadly, schools have taken longer to adapt to this newer and evolving line of thinking. Many schools have arranged their classrooms in linear rows with students sitting side by side and facing forward, often three to four students per bench. While this has allowed for greater discipline among students, it came at the cost of learning how to work with others and did not confer the benefits of collaboration.

The trend is now beginning to shift towards more office-like set-ups, with tables and chairs being set up to allow for reconfiguration in classrooms so that group activities and discussions can take place, allowing for broader discussions and creative learning. Not only is this better for students in terms of efficient learning, but it also prepares students for the collaborative and team-oriented office spaces of the future.

As expanding curricula places new demands on students, the school facility is increasingly becoming a crucial part of the learning process. As a result, choices of school furnishings and finishes play a greater role. Everything must be integrated – pedagogy, curriculum, technology, and facility. You can’t change one without committing to changing all of them.

Ergonomics matters

In an age where physical environment is considered ‘the third teacher’, modern schools are setting standards for what people expect of a forward-thinking educational space. From ergonomically sound furniture that caters to one’s comforts to visually impressive ones, educational institutions are going out of their way to make learning holistic.

Gone are the days when the benches were mere seats. Furniture that is not designed with ergonomics of children in mind is detrimental to a school’s efforts to educate children. In the long run, this may even discourage students from looking forward to attending classes and paying attention to school due to constant discomfort. Office spaces have overcome this problem by introducing standing desks. This has especially benefited employees who may suffer from back problems. Schools are now starting to adopt similar alternatives to workspaces by starting to offer standing desks as well.

The modern design of school furniture is altogether different from what it was in the past. Learning spaces have redefined the schooling environment, making them flexible, and strongly reinforcing collaboration and creativity. Hence, well-designed furniture can not only help school save space but allow students and teachers utilise them efficiently in a variety of ways.

For instance, the furniture designed these days allow for tables to become spaces where students can store their books, bags and water bottles. Chairs are designed to be ergonomic, so that comfort and work efficiency can be maximised. In addition to this, small, but important details such as rounded curves at the corners of desks allow for maximum safety and comfort.

Multipurpose furniture

Positive classroom environment has the potential to increase students’ efficiency and learning by as much as 25%, according to a research study by the University of Salford, UK. By having multipurpose furniture, students can avoid clutter on their desks or within the classroom. This can enable students do their work more easily and in an organised manner. Furthermore, having good seating can encourage students to have a good posture. This can help them focus on their work and collaborate.

These flexible spaces often are filled with bright, lightweight and easily movable stools and tables that can be rearranged to suit a group of any size, while also encouraging children to have a more informal and free-flowing conversation. One way to encourage the development of these soft skills is through active and collaborative learning.

In recent times, schools are being remodelled with tech-friendly, high-quality, durable, easy to maintain furniture. Thus, as schools redefine education by preparing children for new age challenges, having the right furniture can go a long way in facilitating the process.