Header Ads

third teacher multiplies its importance for learning in the digital age

Is it possible to promote learning and physical and psychological well-being by redesigning traditional classrooms? The scientific evidence says yes. Traditional classrooms, generally organized in rows and columns of chairs and tables in front of the teachers' table and the blackboard, no longer meet current educational expectations and needs. This environment, which was already defined in the 1980s by the educator Loris Malaguzzi as the "third teacher", gains even more importance in an era in which learning is eminently digital.

In this context, the Smart Classroom Project research group  of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya ( UOC ) analyzes, through a research project funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the relationship between innovative school spaces and teaching practices. This is the project 'The third teacher in the digital age: analysis of the relationship between innovative school spaces, teaching practices and learning outcomes'.

If the furniture has wheels and can be easily folded , it helps to achieve a more flexible space and to be able to change the learning activity during the same session or offer different arrangements depending on the activity. In the same way, circular tables encourage communication and collaborative interaction between small groups. They are examples of how classroom layout and furniture influence well-being and learning. The researchers have already been able to verify this in more than twenty educational centers where classrooms have been renovated and which serve as a "live laboratory" for this project.

There is no single classroom model.

In the evaluations carried out, the results conclude that the spaces, according to the teaching staff, "are really much better in all the factors measured than those of the ordinary classrooms in which they have worked before", indicates Anna Escofet, professor at the  Faculty of Education at the University of Barcelona and member of the research team. She adds that these evaluations validate both the process and the space model obtained and allow some initial conclusions to be drawn. For example, that there is no single classroom model applicable to all schools, spaces and educational projects.

"We want to see how the practices develop and how they affect the learning results", explains fellow researcher Guillermo Bautista . Different previous studies have already defined models of spaces that help to learn better, "but it is necessary to go deeper to obtain evidence on how these spaces affect factors as important for learning as the teacher's performance, collaborative learning, motivation, proactivity during learning and  engagement , among others, as well as cognitive processes such as memory or attention," says Bautista.

Results that can be extrapolated to all educational levels

The influence of the space is not limited only to the infant and primary stages, where the arrangement of furniture has often been somewhat more flexible. According to experts, all educational levels require rethinking classroom design to improve teaching practices .  "As the educational level progresses, the methodological and spatial changes become somewhat more complicated because the idea that a traditional arrangement and method ensures learning is gaining strength. It is something that has not been scientifically proven, but that is deep-rooted in a good percentage of teachers. However, all the stages need to rethink the spaces in accordance with the aforementioned elements," says Bautista.

Advances in this field are making it possible to improve the learning experience from all angles. However, according to the research staff, there is still a long way to go. "There is a need for cross-sectional studies that measure a certain action or modification of the space and immediate learning, but also more cross-sectional studies based on results and perceptions of the student body and the teaching staff," the work group agrees.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.