I Believe You Have My Stapler Syndrome

Ever wonder why Milton from Office Space spent most of his day yearning after his stapler rather than being a productive member of the workforce?

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Maybe it’s because he worked in a place like this…

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And then later here…

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 Which eventually led to…

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But that’s a whole other story.  The point is if Milton had worked in an office that looked this, he might have been a totally different employee (one that didn’t burn down Initech).

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Maybe even as cool as Michael Bolton.

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The point is where you work and where you learn matters.  Your surroundings matter.  The more important point though is…duh!  Of course it matters.  Anyone who worked in a less-than-awesome space knows deep down in their gut that your physical surroundings influence how you feel and as we’ve been talking about all week how kids feel influences how they learn.

A recent study out of the University of Salford School of the Built Environment in Manchester, England found that that classroom design could be attributed to a 25% impact, positive or negative, on a student’s progress over the course of an academic year.  In particular, six of the design parameters – color, choice, complexity, flexibility, connection, and light–had a significant effect on learning.

According to the authors of the study, this is the first time that there has been a direct measurement of the physical environment’s effect on learning.  Now there’s some rumblings about the methodology of the study, but we know a rich, bright, stimulating environment will help students learn.   Still too many students are learning in environments that look like factories and say “competitive regutitator” all over them.   Think about how the below physical environment rates in terms of the six traits that encourage learning.  Is it a space that encourages creativity and collaboration?

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Then consider a space that looks more like this…

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or even this…

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Given the first one is a pre-school classroom and the second is higher education institution, but I think we in K-12 can learn a lot from both these spaces.  If we want students to be collaborative innovators, how do we design their learning environment?  Step one is we DESIGN them for that purpose, rather than just letting them happen.  We are intentional about the spaces we create for students.  So on that note, here’s a resource (and one more) for your Friday thinking about how we should redesign classrooms and schools and how you can redesign your corner of educational space.

Redesigning those is one step in the right direction to redesigning our world for the better.

Have a great weekend!

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Categories: Stage 2: Joyful and Efficient

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Wow!!!! I would love to have such a big, organized class. It’s like a dream where you & your students are enjoying every single moment. I believe that a proper building & a nice class room full of creativity affects in the spirit of the teacher & her students. The Colours, lights, and the way you set up your tables,chairs and shelves play a big role. The wider and the more spacious the class is the more comfortable for both the teacher& the students. I wish one day i will have such a big & bright class to bright my kids futre.

  2. Thanks for the enthusiasm, Nariman! Will you experiment with your classroom set up and let us know what works for you? Looking forward to hearing what you try out. 🙂

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