Managing the Physical Environment

A Place for Enriched Learning

Why is the Classroom Physical Environment Important?

In Italy, the classroom environment is so important it is referred to as "another teacher." As educators there are aspects about the room we cannot change, but there are many things we can change and should. Many experts believe the arrangement of desks and working space, the attractiveness and appeal of bulletin boards, the storage of materials and supplies are directly related to students' ability to learn and create. A warm, well-run, and creative classroom begins with a physical layout.

Arranging Space

The physical layout will reflect a teacher's style. If you want students to collaborate in small groups, for example, organize them around tables or clusters of desks. For whole-group discussions, try a circle or U-shaped desk configuration. If there is room, try to find space for whole group lessons and space for student collaboration. If you plan on an individualized, self-paced curriculum, you might set up learning stations or centers. Give the room your personal touch with plants, art, rugs, posters, painted walls, alternate lighting sources, class pets, and maybe some cozy pillows or chairs for the reading corner. If you want students to value reading, you must take time to set up an easy to use and appealing classroom library.

Three Physical Environment Tips for all Classrooms

"The physical structure of a classroom is a critical variable in affecting student morale and learning" - Mark Phillips

Color in the Classroom

When thinking about the physical environment color is often overlooked, yet it plays a role in emotion, productivity, communication, and most importantly in learning. In schools, furniture and wall color is important. The key to creating an environment conducive to learning is to not over-stimulate learners. Calmness, relaxation, happiness and comfort are feelings elicited by colors such as green and blue. Bolder colors can be added with accessories and furniture. Bolder and brighter colors can be used when educating younger children and can be used in areas to signal importance. For example, the reading area might be blue, so students can relax while reading, but the activity area can be a bright bold color to stimulate creativity.


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