We know that good teachers can teach virtually anywhere — inside, outside, over the internet, etc. We also know that learning is a non-stop process regardless of physical location. But, when it comes to the school building itself and specifically the classroom (where most students spend a good part of their day) — the design and amenities are critical in creating an environment that is conducive to learning.
A recent study by the University of Salford, located in Manchester U.K., along with architects; Nightingale Associates, indicated the classroom environment can impact a child's academic progress by as much as 25% over the course of the school year!
The study included pupil data that included age, gender, and performance levels in math, reading, and writing; measured at the beginning and end of the school year. Research also evaluated the holistic classroom environment, taking into account different design parameters such as classroom orientation, natural light and noise, temperature and air quality. Other issues evaluated were flexibility of space, storage facilities, and organization, as well as the use of color (a few things NOVA knows a lot about). The holistic assessment included both classroom design and use factors to identify what constitutes an effective learning environment.
73% of the variation in pupil performance driven at the class level could be explained by the building environment factors measured in the study.
Various studies in the United States have shown similar results. Environmental quality, indoor and outdoor spaces, furniture and furnishings, and building design all play an important role in quality education.
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