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Structuring classrooms for effective learning


Master Teacher 1, Sta. Barbara Central School

Long ago, our classrooms were hearing rooms. There was no genuine learning. Many words that we hear from our teacher lay only on the surface of our memory and were easily forgotten. We had few equipments; only desks and blackboards. We also had few textbooks, pictures, charts, maps, etc. We just sit and listen and speak only when called upon to recite or given permission. Our classrooms are orderly and quiet and dead. This kind of classrooms belong to the past.

Today we allow the noise and movement of pupils in the classrooms. Materials and equipment are necessary and should be provided.

Modern classrooms with progressive teachers need a variety of materials which are designed for use in experiments, demonstrations, discussions, sociodramas, group work and games- methods for deeper learning. A storage space for these materials is a necessity.

Convenience and comfort are points a teacher should consider when structuring a classroom. It is in the classroom that the teacher and pupils spent most of the active waking hours. The ages and heights of the children are to be considered. These points will guide the teacher in the selection of the sizes of seats and their arrangement. The number of pupils must be taken into account. The more pupils there are, the more congested the classroom will be if the arrangement is not well-planned. Pupil’s heights will also suggest to the teacher the appropriate heights of tables, bulletin boards, blackboards, motto, pictures and other wall hangings.

Your classroom should conform to the atmosphere and what is suitable for the community. Classrooms must have the atmosphere of being lived in. Study the lighting in your room. Too much contrast in brightness and darkness should be held to a minimum. Glare produces eyestrain. Classrooms should be painted with cheerful colors. Painting the room white or very light cream will make it bright, as white or light colors reflect light. Sunless rooms may be done in warm reds and orange, sunny rooms in cool blues or green.

Light should come from the left and the rear so that no shadows may interfere with writing and reading.

Good traffic lanes are requisites for all rooms especially classrooms. No large furniture should block passages. Children should be taught how to go about using the lanes. In cases where the room is too crowded, a one-way traffic is advisable. Good traffic demands that aisles should be wide enough and straight.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” would be a good motto for all teachers. System and orderliness is developed among the children without the teachers having to make too much effort. The teacher must remember that the room is not for her convenience and comfort alone. The children should be the primary consideration. Fixing up a room can be enjoyable if it becomes a cooperative job for both the pupils and the teacher. Allow the pupils to make some changes in the arrangement of their chairs as long as they are comfortable.

Pictures, mirrors, and paintings are wall pieces. Flowers take positions on tables, potted plants on stands and floors.

Hang the health chart, bulletin board and attendance chart on one wall if it is possible. Have only one calendar. Observe balance, margin, grouping and proportion in the bulletin board composition.

The teacher’s table and her chair should be placed where a visitor may reach them without disturbing the class activities or without being noticed too much by the children.

The things on the teacher’s table should be arranged according to line. The register, the teacher’s lesson plan and other forms which are needed daily should be placed conspicuously. Artificial flowers have no place on a teacher’s table.

The classroom must be really clean. The floors, walls, ceiling, furniture and equipment are free from dirt and dust. Corners and hidden nooks should be as clean as parts that are exposed.

Cleaning the room must never be used as a means of punishment. The dignity of labor must be stressed in this phase of schoolwork. The teacher must demonstrate how to clean whenever possible.

Happy are the teachers who have made their rooms pleasing and livable. A room for study with all its requisites cannot be achieved through accident. The only way it can be made to serve the occupants is through thoughtful analysis of the activities of the occupants, guided by the rules of interior planning and decoration.

By Ellen P. Borja

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