Classroom Environment Design Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1523 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

Secondary Classroom Environment Design

Classroom Environment Design: Secondary Education

The objective of this work is to design a secondary classroom environment. This work will include a statement of which child development theory best represents the needs of the grade level with an explanation of why this theory is believed to be superior to other theories. This work will additionally provide clear indications that the plan takes into account the child developmental stages and variations that may exist among students of the same chronological age.

In the secondary teacher's initiative of classroom environment design it is critically necessary to remember that students are a diverse group of learners and that the classroom is not only a learning environment but as well is a social environment. It is necessary to consider the differences that exist among learners when designing a classroom environment that is conducive to and supportive of learning. The work of Dorman, Fisher and Waldrip entitled: "Classroom Environment, Students' Perceptions of Assessment, Academic Efficacy and Attitude to Science" states that: "Results of studies conducted over the past 30 years have provided convincing evidence that the quality of the classroom environment in schools is a significant determinant of students learning." (nd)

I. CHILD DEVELOPMENT THEORIESBuy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Classroom Environment Design Assignment

Two learning theories are optimal for consideration when designing the secondary classroom. The first of these is Howard Gardner's 'Multiple Intelligences' theory was developed in 1983. While there are limitations of all theories, the theory of Gardner is important for consideration. Gardner states that there are eight different intelligences that may be applied in comprehending "the broader range of human potential in children and adults." (Riddle, 1999) the eight intelligences as proposed by Gardner are those of: (1) linguistic; (2) logical-mathematical; (3) spatial; (4) bodily-kinesthetic; (5) musical; (6) interpersonal; (7) intrapersonal; and (8) naturalist. (Riddle, 1999) This theory supports the use of a "wide variety of ways using music, cooperative learning, art activities, role play, multimedia, field trips, inner reflection, and much more." (Riddle, 1999) the second theory considered critically important in considering the classroom environment design is Lev Vygotsky's 'Social Development' theory. Vygotsky held the belief that "biological and cultural development do not occur in isolation." (Riddle, 1999) Vygotsky further believed that the process of development is "a life long process" and that this development is "dependent on social interaction and that social learning leads to cognitive development' in what Vygotsky termed the "Zone of Proximal Development." (Ibid) the zone of development has been described by Vygotsky as: "the distance between the actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978) the focus of Vygotsky was on the connections that exist between individuals the cultural context in which these individuals interact, share experiences, and learn. (Crawford, 1996; paraphrased as cited in Riddle, 1999) the work entitled: "Top 10 Design Ideas for Schools of the 21st Century" published by American School & University (1998) states: "*Flexible classrooms may or may not surround the learning areas. Wherever they are located, they provide opportunities for differing sizes of classes, for responding to the best teaching styles of an individual teacher, and for responding to changing curriculum trends and educational delivery methodology. Making the transition from the traditional departmental organization to an interdisciplinary grouping of teaching stations requires a variety of classroom spaces for small-, regular- and large-group activities." (American School & University, 1998)

II. APPLICATION of THEORIES in CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT DESIGN

The work of Riddle (1999) points out that school structure is falling behind the "rapid changes our society is experiencing." Furthermore, computer technology integration has increased social interaction in the classroom and is working toward transforming the classroom-learning environment and has effectively transformed the way the world conducts business, therefore, this factor must be given weight when attempting to design a classroom environment that supports and furthers student learning. In the design initiative, the teacher must remember that since different students learn most optimally through different learning activities that there is a need of provision of learning centers in the design that make an offering of the different types of learning opportunities that provide different learning activities for students. The work entitled: "Universal Design in the Classroom and Computer Lab" makes some very important revelations concerning classroom design. This work states that: "In terms of learning, universal design means the design of instructional materials and activities that make learning goals achievable by individuals with wide differences in their abilities to see, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, engage, and remember. Universal design for learning is achieved by means of flexible curricular materials and activities that provide alternatives for students with differing abilities. These alternatives are built into the instructional design and operating systems of educational materials-they are not added after the fact." (Burgstahler, 2002) These principles, within the context of the design of classroom environment will be applied to: "...lectures, classroom discussions, group work, handouts, Web-based instruction, labs, fieldwork, and other academic activities and materials. They allow for multiple means of representation, expression and engagement." (Burgstahler, 2002) Not only do these principles of design support the learning theory of Gardner's 'multiple intelligences' as well as social development as stated by Vygotsky but as well, the use of these principles supports classroom inclusion and diversity in the learning environment.

III. SPECIFIC CLASSROOM COMPONENTS

The classroom design proposed in this work will have different 'zones' of learning activities as follows: (1) computer center; (2) activity center; (3) small group learning center; (4) whole-class learning center; and (5) library-reading center. The computer center will be used by students on assigned days for groups of students and will be an interactive group learning activity as well as will the activity center; small group learning center; and library-reading center. Each student will be assigned to a group that utilizes each of these centers on a rotating basis with each group being assigned to each learning center at least one day per week. The classroom-learning environment will be designed in a manner that is characteristic of cooperative and collaborative learning. Group assignments will take into consideration the ability of students and will assign students into groupings making sure to include more capable students, students with mid-levels of capability and the less capable students evenly throughout the groupings so that the more capable students are able to assist those less capable in the assigned learning tasks. The use of the various learning activities integrates Gardner's theory of 'multiple intelligences' into the learning environment that is supported by Vygotsky's theory of the 'zone of proximal development' in order to further the learning potential of students. Rules of conduct in the classroom will be of mutual respect with stated rules of classroom behavior made clear so that no misunderstanding might occur. The classroom environment will be characterized by flexibility and students will take part in some learning activity design in order to develop the autonomy of students and in order that student's own their own learning and develop efficacy concerning their academic achievement. Vygotsky's theory states that student desks should be arranged in clusters or that tables or working space should be provided for "...peer instruction, collaboration, and small group instruction." (Riddle, 1999) Within the scope of Vygotsky's developmental theory, "scaffolding and reciprocal teaching are effective strategies to access the zone of proximal development."(Riddle, 1999) it is important that the teacher engage the interest of students and motivate students. The physical environment of the classroom will be one that is characterized by a well-lit classroom with classroom temperatures comfortable to support learning. The teacher will be readily available to students and the teacher's desk will be in proximity that all students are aware of the availability of the teacher at… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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