Adaptable Learning Spaces

Adaptable spaces are surely necessary for the variety of forms that these encounters manifest in. Contemporary humans change careers with consummate ease, which brings to the fore the challenge of designing spaces which promote lateral thinking and instil in children a conviction of unhindered potential. A child whose surroundings engender an association of learning with spatial variety will learn to assimilate new environments fluidly into their learning process. If structured appropriately, a concentration on independence and agency is said to foster adaptability in a child’s learning and working methods. These traits are richly rewarded in later education, and highly sought after in the workplace. Designers who can grasp this flexibility of space that modern pedagogy demands will deliver results to the classroom and its learners.

Affordability must also play an important role in an approach to new educational architecture if we are to see results forthwith. Where new buildings are not immediately necessary, planning adjustments, applied with vision that is both broad and detailed, can cultivate learning environments that are not only effective in teaching knowledge but also in promoting moral equanimity. How a school sits within its locality, its master-planning, collaboration and coordination with the community are all easily overlooked policies that indirectly shape a young mind’s attitude to the world around. The obligation for such considerations should balance with most obvious standards that school are held to, such as examination results and graduations. Theorists like Maria Montessori have continually expressed that pedagogical cultures that build relationships will in turn bring about harmonious and enduring societies. This full development, intellectual and moral, of the human person should surely be the chief ambition of education, and buildings thereof.

There is no doubt that pedagogical architecture, historically, has at times made tuition oppressive, but there is much we know of its ability to decisively augment learning. Few will argue about the importance of a positive environment for learning. More broadly, as a child grows, much of what they learn relates to their abilities, investigating their potential as they test their bounds and learn the law and customs which bind society. Spaces have the potential to make this awareness uplifting: that the restrictions, be they walls or curricula, built or taught, which students frequently encounter, are actually an environment to move about in, a frame for their potential rather than a limit. Every young, growing mind deserves to learn in such a space.