How important is a learning space?
Imagine walking into a room with each wall painted in bright, complementary colours. The wall at the back of the room has murals depicting bravely fought battles, historical monuments and processions that can be traced on a huge map of the world. You glance to your right and wonder if the Mona Lisa on the wall is looking at you or the person seated behind. Beside her, Shakespeare and Rumi are deep in conversation. On your left are brilliant blue rivers, trees swaying in the breeze, stars in the night sky, and chirping birds in pastels.
How did that make you feel?
Now imagine this to be your child’s classroom.
You might ask if these ‘aesthetics’ really matter. Don’t we have textbooks with minuscule pictures and aren’t those enough to teach the child a topic?
The structure of a classroom is one that elicits a singular, almost similar image in the minds of all students- an image that typically points to monotony.
With this knowledge comes the understanding that a classroom should be a place that nurtures a healthy and inviting learning experience. The classroom majorly influences a child’s perception of a learning environment. That makes it all the more important that this space should be a positive, creative ground for the child’s overall development.
Educators around the world are working towards a shift from the notion of ‘classroom’ to ‘learning space’; a space that uses innovative ways of teaching. A change of environments such as the school playground or park, an art room or even a museum is refreshing and can make a huge difference in the way students respond to a subject. Learning beyond the classroom gives kids the opportunity to practically apply their knowledge, identify where their interests lie and develop their skills set on a regular basis. All forms and areas of learning can benefit from this approach because a learning space is holistic and dynamic in nature.
For example, our Science Communication Club has been designed to integrate the spheres of art and science. The club uses the means of art and craft to teach science and enables the child to communicate science in a creative way. Some of the modes incorporated include photography, writing, design, animation, and papercrafts.
THE ONLINE CULTURE
Along with community zones, the virtual learning space has grown extensively. Millions of courses are administered online and virtual classrooms are not only expanding the knowledge database but also bringing out a newer dimension of student-teacher interaction. Digital libraries, tutorials, DIY topics, online clubs, and crash courses in video formats are gaining so much popularity that their usage has extended to classroom lectures too.
At this juncture, a peer-reviewed approach with a mutual exchange of ideas can be a superb way to make the online space cordial and educational.
The goal of a novel approach is not to eliminate a traditional classroom setting but to cultivate the idea of learning beyond the four walls, to knowing that everyday activities have plenty to teach us, and understanding the true essence of ‘Learning made fun’.