When I checked the statistics of this blog, a lot of searches that end up viewing the site is looking for the learning environment in a progressive elementary or grade school classroom.
Here in the Philippines, most classrooms have a traditional set up. Unfortunately, even some of the progressive schools have adopted a traditional set up wherein all the chairs are facing the teacher and have no opportunity to have learning centers or to be decentralized. Why? It costs less and the administration assumes that the class can be managed better. There is a way to make a classroom progressive in an efficient way.
In our school, we decided that the elementary students move from one classroom to another depending on their subject. Why?
1. Every classroom becomes one learning area and the students have an opportunity to visit each area. For example, the subjects Filipino and English are in one classroom called Communication Arts room.
2. Since each classroom is set-up as a learning area focused on that particular subject, the teacher of that subject can design his/her classroom to have elements to encourage learning for that subject. For example, here’s our Communication Arts room..
Yes, the teacher is in front and all the chairs are facing her however, check the varied the positions of the chairs and tables. The tables are long and can sit 4 students to encourage group work. They are movable in the event that the teacher needs to change the lay out of the classroom when the curriculum calls for it. She can move all the tables to the side and have one big group in the middle or separate the students into smaller groups.
Every classroom, regardless of subject, has a reading area. Even the Math and Science room has one. Why? A progressive classroom houses a progressive curriculum. A progressive curriculum is integrated, meaning all subjects are connected with one another (this is intended for another article in this blog). Since this is the Communication Arts room, it SHOULD have a reading area! This particular area have the all traits of a progressive reading area: covers out, varied titles, culture- and curriculum-based and the students can TOUCH the books!
Every classroom displays various projects of the students. Why the net? Here’s a tip: the net makes it easier to change displays because the projects are not taped to the wall. Those awful tape marks also add cost because you have to repaint your walls more often. Save in tape, save in paint 🙂
The learning environment is crucial to be parallel to the progressive curriculum. Let’s harness our teaching creativity to design a unique and progressive classroom even for the elementary-aged student!