Presentation Title

Increasing Student Engagement Through Classroom Design

Faculty Mentor

Joan Wines

Start Date

17-11-2018 2:15 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 2:30 PM

Location

C164

Session

Oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

education

Abstract

I’ve discovered an interesting discrepancy in the original stages of my research: smaller class sizes are not universally believed to promote student learning. Buckingham stated that the most important factor of student learning is the effectiveness of the teacher, and having a smaller class size has only minimal benefit in comparison. In a typical classroom set up, where rows of desks face the front of the room, the teacher holds court telling students what to remember, giving them little incentive or time to formulate and discuss their own ideas and responses. This centuries-old design, an arrangement that puts focus on the teacher and minimizes student interaction, is detrimental to student learning, but especially in larger classes. Reluctant or quiet students may be excluded from class conversations. Recent research has found that active learning is an essential component of effective learning. While the most important factor of student achievement is the effectiveness of a teacher, a student who is not engaged in the classroom will not be learning. A manageable classroom environment is a necessary tool for every teacher. Reducing class sizes can encourage reluctant students to participate, while in larger classrooms, breaking the class into smaller groups can cultivate discussion. This approach also has the added benefit of making it easier for teachers to connect with students individually as they move around the classroom interacting with the student groups. One fairly recent design improvement that has been confirmed as valuable in creating more widespread student engagement is the substitution of moveable furniture for the standard heavy desks, chairs and tables that typify traditional classroom design. When teachers can have students wheel lightweight chairs and tables around a room, arrange them in ways that adapt to the lesson of the day, and separate themselves into different-sized groups, the students become more engaged with their learning processes. My research lead me to the conclusion that the benefits of small group work is more easily accessible with light, movable furniture widely implemented in classroom design. It should be used first in the rooms that accommodate large classes, and then in all other classrooms as budgets permit. This will provide the effective teacher a flexible classroom environment that can be rearranged for group discussions and differences in daily lessons.

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Nov 17th, 2:15 PM Nov 17th, 2:30 PM

Increasing Student Engagement Through Classroom Design

C164

I’ve discovered an interesting discrepancy in the original stages of my research: smaller class sizes are not universally believed to promote student learning. Buckingham stated that the most important factor of student learning is the effectiveness of the teacher, and having a smaller class size has only minimal benefit in comparison. In a typical classroom set up, where rows of desks face the front of the room, the teacher holds court telling students what to remember, giving them little incentive or time to formulate and discuss their own ideas and responses. This centuries-old design, an arrangement that puts focus on the teacher and minimizes student interaction, is detrimental to student learning, but especially in larger classes. Reluctant or quiet students may be excluded from class conversations. Recent research has found that active learning is an essential component of effective learning. While the most important factor of student achievement is the effectiveness of a teacher, a student who is not engaged in the classroom will not be learning. A manageable classroom environment is a necessary tool for every teacher. Reducing class sizes can encourage reluctant students to participate, while in larger classrooms, breaking the class into smaller groups can cultivate discussion. This approach also has the added benefit of making it easier for teachers to connect with students individually as they move around the classroom interacting with the student groups. One fairly recent design improvement that has been confirmed as valuable in creating more widespread student engagement is the substitution of moveable furniture for the standard heavy desks, chairs and tables that typify traditional classroom design. When teachers can have students wheel lightweight chairs and tables around a room, arrange them in ways that adapt to the lesson of the day, and separate themselves into different-sized groups, the students become more engaged with their learning processes. My research lead me to the conclusion that the benefits of small group work is more easily accessible with light, movable furniture widely implemented in classroom design. It should be used first in the rooms that accommodate large classes, and then in all other classrooms as budgets permit. This will provide the effective teacher a flexible classroom environment that can be rearranged for group discussions and differences in daily lessons.