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Emphasize Infrastructure When Opening a School

Emphasize Infrastructure When Opening a School

Posted on August 4, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

While deliberating on the construction of the building in the course of opening a new school, one comes across a typical observation, worded differently but essentially meaning the same thing which is — that for anyone who loves to read and learn, any place can be good enough. Acquisition of knowledge transcends the physical instrumentalities which stop mattering beyond a point.

We beg to differ.

It is disingenuous to deny that you do need a well-planned, quiet and ordered place to bolster concentration of the students and help them assimilate everything they read and learn. And in terms of ongoing progressive education trends, having classrooms for learning in best possible conditions for students is as vital as any other facility for securing desirable learning outcomes. Hence it has to be granted that the physical environs wherein students study for hours at a stretch is correlated with their performance.

A good school infrastructure with ample learning spaces makes it easy for children with different learning styles and pace easier to study. While building a school, not only the physical design but the evolution of education system on so many levels must be heeded. Nowadays, learning is much easier, advanced and interesting than it used to be mostly because of the evolution of  technology. School Architects world over opine that the  school building must reflect a progressive inclination and receptive spatial design.

 

 

Image and Look

During the design phase of what would end up becoming the aesthetic attributes of the building, many things must be kept in mind. Certain things to take under consideration would be, what equivalent image do you want beholder to conjure after taking a look at your building? What purpose does the school serve and what are its educational goals? These considerations will give a perspective and orientation to the design of a school building that’s distinctive.

Shared Space and Infrastructure

While advancing with the school building project, a relatively new trend that has emerged must also be taken in consideration – ‘shared space’. Many schools are building shared rooms for teachers or staffs to keep their belongings, stationeries, copies to evaluate etc. in one room. This will also preclude misplacement of stationeries or copies. This will also free useful space in the classrooms which can be then used for other productive classroom activities.

Points to Keep in Mind While Developing Quality School Infrastructure

  1. Comfort for students and staff – Appropriate spaces for students, teachers, administrators along with adequate intangible and tangible aspects including temperature, ventilation, lighting, water and other facilities like sanitary and drainage.
  2. Place for skill development, rehearsals and practice – Libraries, information and computer technology labs (ICT), Science labs and newly trending Math and English labs.
  3. Spaces for developing and nurturing talent – auditorium, ante-rooms, entertainment rooms, culture centred theatre, impromptu dramatics corner.

Apparenr Impacts of Progressive Infrastructure on Quality of Education

Increased and consistent Attendance: Good infrastructure naturally appeals to the young minds. The dropout rate in the schools is discouragingly high in the rural schools. deficient and sub-par infrastructure has been implicated as one of the major reasons for absenteeism and low attendance count in an academic year.

Teacher Motivation:  survey shows, that the absence of teachers, on an average, in schools with poor infrastructure is ten per cent more than those in better urban-designed schools.

Members of the intelligentsia are becoming votaries of the improved infrastructure of schools and education technology and there are new dimensions which are getting revealed.

With CSR spending flowing into upgradation of school infrastructure, one hopes, the architectural techniques that bolster motivation and performance will enter the realm of pedagogy. We have dwelt on the relationship between architecture and pedagogy in our earlier article click here to read. The internationality of the work culture of the industries can herald a redefining trend if applied to school buildings too. Besides The involvement of students, teachers, tangible factors like building a lesson of a subject or fashioning a demonstration for comprehension of a concept can also be positively influenced by customized and researched architectural techniques which can be an asset for those who are opening a school with the purpose of making a difference in the education scenario of their region.

The outdoors or externalities of the infrastructure are not comparably heeded when it comes to optimizing the architecture of educational institutions. Researches have shown that the external infrastructure, even the façade, can have an undeniable effect on the environment of the school. For K-12 schools which run multiple streams and value interaction between the students and teachers must carefully select the master plan and get the interiors designed with attention to details.

The infrastructure of the modern schools, taken in its entirety, would constitute teaching aids, digital installations, education technology etc.  These are not subtleties any longer but have emerged as the necessities to be taken into account while opening a school with productive teaching environment.

The educational architecture is attentive about promoting individualized learning, creating settings for innovative teaching, incorporating new technology, being environmentally sustainable and supporting community involvement.

Designs of the new schools have a key element which owes their importance to the rise of technology usage in teaching practices in schools. Information and communications technologies (ICTs) which are highly valued for its role in the professional development of teachers in our country where teacher education is a critical issue. The designs which are coming forth recognize the distinct needs of pedagogical settings some of the deliberated ones include the degree of insularity i.e. acoustic and visual screening of the learning environments.

If one is opening a school where international programmes will be initiated, there are things that would make infrastructure compatible with the requirement of international curriculums which include directive, collaborative, applied, communicative modes of pedagogy.

Doing away with the constraints of the classroom which embodies an egg-crate model. Technology friendly architecture has changed the scenario for the better. The collaboration it promotes between the faculty and the students in colleges can be selectively adopted in the K-12 schools.


Impact of School Architecture on Pedagogy

Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

It has been a common observation that when schools are built, the emphasis on the finer correlations between pedagogy and infrastructure is missed out. Typically, school promoters emphasize on the construction of a school building which is just in compliance with a given board of affiliation. The directions given by the education boards or councils are generic, primarily containing the directives about the size of the school land, the area of the labs, playground, number of facilities and the size of the classroom. Then, as a measure to preclude crowding, maximum strength a class is fixed.

 

Despite the competition between schools, the learning environment design does not find the place it deserves. Those who want to start a school and take school building as a brick and mortar construction with only quantitative not qualitative difference from any other sort of building, are not few. In the resulting scenario of sheer ignorance or compromise, ideas of ‘collaborative learning’,  ‘interactive learning’ and campus experience turn into irrelevant terms with hardly any impact on teaching-learning practices of schools and boarding schools are no different from bunkers. We have seen that the school promoters often find it difficult to understand the emphasis that is placed on the master plan and architecture by the international education organizations.

 

Aspiring For Institution - Defining Architecture & Interiors ?

 

Further, it is often seen that there is no dearth of those who think that educational technology can spruce up the classroom and make up for the shortcomings of the classroom architecture. Here again, a flaw in the understanding of learning space design is evident. Classroom technology mainly including computer-enabled learning, Interactive White Board etc. definitely form an important part of the learning space, but they are neither practical for every grade nor are they uniformly efficient for old and small children. School promoters and educators realize that it is not sufficient to come up with technology abled classrooms to facilitate best learning outcomes.

The guiding principle for the architects and master planners while planning and designing school infrastructure is to make central the student experience and learning outcomes.

The school architecture is becoming more and more crucial in bringing learning experiences to classrooms in-line with the evolving curricula. It is not just about the classrooms, there is an undeniable need to attend the external context and landscape design as well. With such trends coming to the fore, the focus is moving towards designs that facilitate holistic education experience.

Consummate school architecture and masterplan are the ones that place focus on both tangible and intangible components of the learning environment, they focus on connectivity between teacher and students and freedom of interaction among the students as much as temperature, light, and ventilation. In fact, connectivity between staff and students and freedom of interaction should be focused upon in the external contexts too.  While these are the characteristics of an ideal school design, we have a long way to go before we could create a culture where a perfect school architectural design becomes a priority of the school promoters.

Edupreneurs and academicians agree that the learning environment must modernize both with respect to the curriculum and the infrastructure. It’s evident from several outstanding examples that the 21st century has thrown doors open for accelerated, inclusive and efficient teaching-learning but only for those with a modernized outlook. Master planners and designers have immense value to add with their craft and imagination.

The learning environment and the educational ecosystem should be child-centric rather than instructor-centric. This approach is essential to achieve the objectives of the 21st-century schools. Nevertheless, the majority of the classrooms still practice the same old transmissive style of teaching-learning making the student passive or withdrawn. The change in the design of the classroom would translate into the change in the attitude of students and learning outcomes, a number of researches have been conducted to determine decisively the correlation between modern classrooms and educational outcomes.

The researches have even suggested that dropout rates would reduce if the facilities of the government schools are thoughtfully constructed and maintained. Researchers are of opinion that the ideal learning environment of the higher classes can never be made by inserting monotonous rows of desks giving it a look of a factory.

Pedagogy is influenced by sociocultural and socioeconomic circumstances. It has been influenced by researches in the field of psychology especially child psychology, cognition, memory, and learning. In the 1990s, with the advent of theories like constructivism in the field of psychology and education there came a marked shift in the perspectives of the educators and learning space designers and they began to stress upon conversational, interactive, collaborative make-up of the instructional environment rather than the stereotypical top-down broadcast model of learning. The theories that evolved from these progressive views had their impact on learning modalities like curriculums and learning environment. The effect of the surroundings on the receptiveness of the student is apparent across grades.

We recommend school promoters to opt for school master plan, school architecture and school interior designing services from professional agencies with exclusive expertise in designing 21st-century learning environments.



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