The most important ingredient for a great classroom

Take away the teacher and what is the most important ingredient for a great classroom?

ds has worked with some of the most innovative educators and when I look back at projects, space is a common factor that determines if a classroom will be great. Integrated audio visual systems, good acoustics and lighting, comfortable seating and plentiful writing and pinnable surfaces are important, but if the size of the room is wrong for its use, the classroom may never be great.

We talk of the whole campus as being a place of learning. But where boundless space is not available (and rarely is, especially when refurbishing), the types of learning spaces need to be prioritised and space allocated accordingly.

When you introduce informal learning spaces, consider their role compared to your classrooms. With booths and banquette seating, couches and beanbags, and sometimes even coffee machines, they may seem a lot more exciting than classrooms.

But I’ve walked through award-winning projects where the balance is wrong. Amazing informal learning spaces… and space-compromised classrooms, that no matter how good the acoustics or innovative the AV, the purpose of the classroom is compromised.

And a nice cup of coffee isn’t a good trade for a great classroom.

Peter Schreuder, Managing Director