Preservice students’ ultimate classroom design

In most English Curriculum units I run an activity where students work in groups to design their ultimate English classroom.

Here are some of the elements that come up in many of the designs:

  • Really big bookshelf
  • Reading area/chill out zone with bean bags
  • Lots of windows
  • Blackout curtains around the room for cinema viewing & drama background
  • ‘Drama blocks’ that can be used as seating or a stage (or a dedicated stage area)
  • An indoor plant
  • Projector and screen
  • Moveable tables (though note often teacher-centric as default)

Some groups, but not too many, also include:

  • Interactive whiteboard/s
  • Posters on the wall
  • iPad/laptop chargers
  • Student work display board
  • Different ‘zones’ in one big room
  • Coffee/tea making area
  • An outdoor area e.g. verandah

The inclusion of a coffee/tea area is slightly worrying, given the adolescent age range of the students in mind!

Other than that though, I can see very good reasons for most of these design elements.

The only problems is…I know that these aspiring teachers have buckleys of fitting all this in to a traditional school classroom space. Until we knock down the walls and invest in new, flexible, comfortable furnishings, these dream rooms will stay just that. A dream.

What do you do to make your classroom more like your ‘ultimate room’? What else would you include in your ultimate classroom design?


A circular, two-level design

Indoor and outdoor space use

Indoor and outdoor space use

Multi-zone room with coloured carpets

Multi-zone room with coloured carpets

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  1. #1 by Natalie Grant on July 31, 2013 - 7:11 am

    Wouldn’t it be great to have all that room to move about! I wonder how much a space influences the way that kids learn – does a more engaging classroom space make the students more receptive to the content?

  2. #2 by Kate Jenian (@katejenian) on July 31, 2013 - 9:57 am

    I think it will also be a while until we, as new teachers, would have the ability to rearrange a classroom for our own purposes. We will just have to be very creative about using the space available, and using temporary features that we can put up and take down as required.

  3. #3 by Lisa on July 31, 2013 - 7:38 pm

    Very few classrooms these days come with fixed desks. So essentially any classroom can have desks grouped the way you wish. Just get the first kids that turn up to class to move the desks with you into the arrangement you want. By the time all the stragglers have arrived to class, voila, you have the class grouped as you’d like (within space restraints of course). Just make sure you leave a little time at the end of class too be the desks back (or not 😜if you want to challenge the next teacher). Also if you do this the same each class you’ll find that kids automatically move the desks at the start of the lesson (Pavlov’s Dog n all).

  4. #4 by Lisa on July 31, 2013 - 7:39 pm

    *too put. Sigh.

  5. #5 by Lisa on July 31, 2013 - 7:39 pm

    Haha. *to put. Edit function please.

  6. #6 by Kerstin on August 8, 2013 - 10:00 am

    The educational ‘space’ is created by the teacher whether you have a dream classroom or not. A fabulous classroom is only as good as the teacher using it.

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