In recent years, we have entered a new era of education. Classroom activities no longer involve the simple lecture and listen method, but instead have gravitated towards approaches that facilitate deeper learning. Interdisciplinary lessons, collaborative projects, and hands on learning have now become the norm.
But, unfortunately, while our teaching styles have evolved, our classrooms have not. Many schools existing today were built back in the 50’s and 60’s and lack the proper constructs to support new styles of teaching and learning. Simply put, we need more collaborative spaces in schools. Collaborative spaces are indispensable to active learning, and are a necessary adjustment our schools will need to make in order to sustain improved emerging pedagogy.
Why Is Collaboration Important for Learning?
Collaborative spaces in schools are important because they support group projects and hands on activities that are important for higher level thinking. These activities more closely mimic real world situations and better prepare students for their careers and life in general.
When students work together, they are more successful at understanding and solving complex problems because they can draw on their diverse knowledge and skills. Furthermore, being able to interact in this manner helps children and young adults develop important social and communication skills they will need throughout their lives.
Planning Collaborative Spaces in Schools
The best way to ensure that schools have the collaborative spaces they need is to include them from the very beginning in renovation and new construction plans. However, since architects are usually the ones designing our schools, there is a lack of awareness of what features are desired and needed.
School boards, architecture firms, and educators should work together to conceptualize and perfect construction plans. The ASCD, also known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, calls this architectural programming1, and so far, it’s proving to be quite effective. Schools have already seen great results from adding collaborative areas like makerspaces, greenhouses for gardening, and STEM labs.
What is needed now is for those in the educational industry to spread awareness of this movement and continue to advocate for collaborative spaces in schools. Hopefully, eventually, school districts will realize the changes that need to happen in order to support the learning and development of future generations.
Browse Collaborative Furniture from the Supple Collection
Are you interested in adding a collaborative space to your school? Check out our online catalog to examples of collaborative furniture from the Supple Collection or call our office to speak to an expert about your schools’ needs.
1. Taylor, Ann. “How Schools Are Redesigning Their Space”. Educational Leadership, Volume 51, Number 1,
Inventing New Systems, Pages 36-41. ASCD. Sept 1993.