Ideal Learning Environment


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Ideal Learning Environment

  1. 1. Ideal Secondary School Learning Environment By Patrick O’Conner
  2. 2. The School 1) The design of the school would attempt to provide all of the resources of a large school to a smaller student body. 2)Spaces would be created and time would be available to ensure all students find things they enjoy doing, with an emphasis on encouraging both intrinsic learning and college or career paths. 3) Design would encourage students to make things and do things. Spaces would be created to give students a chance to apply knowledge and discover interests in a safe environment 4) Results-oriented but students will be encouraged to take risks and learn from failure.
  3. 3. Music • Music Rooms: My school would include a large classroom for music instruction plus adjacent sound-proof rooms available for students to practice with instruments.
  4. 4. Creative Arts • There would be large art studios where students could create painting, sculpture, etc.
  5. 5. Media Center • Media Center would include plenty of computers and would have staff knowledgeable in media research and technology. There would be classes taught on the use of technology for research.
  6. 6. Communications Communications: Student-run media: school website, on-line yearbook, weekly “newspaper”, podcasts, videos. Coordination with local news outlets. Emphasis on application of skills to coordinate and create written and verbal content using up-to-date technology and social media.
  7. 7. Foreign Languages • Several foreign languages would be offered and every student would be required to take them. Ideally these programs would start in elementary school so middle and high school instruction could build on that foundation, but there would be instructors qualified to teach beginning through advanced level courses.
  8. 8. Engineering Students would have spaces to build things and apply concepts learned in math and science classes. Students could design simple structures, and coordinate with vo- tech students to build structures designed in class. The school would have instructors able to teach both design and construction. There would be areas on the school grounds for building.
  9. 9. Vocational-Technical • The school would have an auto-shop for aspiring mechanics, a tool shop, an area to train plumbers, and a simulated hospital room for a pre-nursing program.
  10. 10. JROTC The school would have resources available for a top-notch ROTC program. Space would be made on the Support Services wing for a full-time military recruiter to meet with students and parents.
  11. 11. Intramural Sports A variety of sports would be offered in all seasons. The school would have a first-class gymnasium and fields to accommodate intramural sports. All students would get a chance to participate on a sports team, whether or not they’re good enough to make the varsity team.
  12. 12. Support Services • The School would have support services for the families of students. It would occupy an entire wing of the school. It’s function would be to focus on the student rather than content. The idea is to take care of all of the “peripheral” issues so that instructors can focus on content area. This way education could be focused on the overall development of the students rather than merely a list of learning objectives. Helping families would be part of the goal as well. Adult literacy programs, programs about adolescent development for parents would be offered. Boys & Girls Club, Scouting, church youth-groups and other community-based organizations would have space available for use after-hours.
  13. 13. Extended Access • Schools would be accessible to students and families nights and weekends. Maybe not 24/7, but extended hours would allow access to resources that some kids do not have at home and enable students who need additional help to catch up.
  14. 14. Cafeteria • It would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. • Healthy options would be available for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, as well as those with other particular dietary needs. • In addition to serving meals, the cafeteria staff would be qualified to teach students about nutrition, food preparation for home, and culinary arts. Opportunities would be available to teach restaurant management. • To-go meal bags would be available on weekends for needy students.
  15. 15. Tutoring • After hours tutoring programs would be available for any student who needed them and supplemental tutoring could help students who are able and motivated to push beyond what is being learned in the classrooms. This would include help with music and language.
  16. 16. Guidance Counselors • The school would not have one guidance counselor, but instead would have several. Students would be assigned to a particular counselor based on their chosen career or educational track, but there would also be counselors available to deal with mental or emotional health issues as needed. Counselors would be basically teachers without content area whose job would be to focus on students rather than subjects. They would have spaces available for counseling on the wing of the school set aside for support services
  17. 17. Employment Center In this day-and-age people will change jobs frequently. My school would have a classroom and instructor oriented towards teaching students how to create a resume and how to apply and interview for jobs. Instead of one guidance counselor, there would be several and one would coordinate with local employers concerning job openings, internships, and apprenticeships. Students would be taught how to find employment, how to keep employment, how to negotiate salary, ask for raises, and how to transition to another job or another career.
  18. 18. The Classroom • Classrooms will be large and have spaces to accommodate various groupings of students and different styles of teaching and learning. • There will be space to create and collaborate.
  19. 19. Technology • Smartboards would be available in every classroom.
  20. 20. Computers • There would be computers at every desk. Perhaps built-in tablets that could serve as a desk surface when not in use.
  21. 21. Space to Fail • Failure is a key part of success. My classroom will be designed to give students the space and opportunity to try new things, to take risks, and to fail in a safe environment, then learn from that failure. Practice makes perfect!
  22. 22. Different Learning Styles • My classroom will enable me to differentiate instruction and accommodate the different learning styles of my students. Students will be able to develop in spaces designed to give them the ability to learn in their own way at their own pace.
  23. 23. Layout: • One possible layout I created for a high school. It would be a large classroom designed for a 15 students. There would be space for traditional column-and-row seating for lectures or if the teacher needed control, as well as spaces for working in smaller groups and for brainstorming/storyboarding projects.
  24. 24. Design Tool • The design tool I used to create my classroom can be found at
  25. 25. Summary • My School and Classroom will be designed to: • 1) Integrate education in content with overall development of adolescents • 2) Encourage creation and intrinsic learning • 3) Provide paths to adulthood and independence
  26. 26. Photo Credits • Music room: • Art Studio • Student Broadcast: 02/story/first_coast_broadcast_news_student_academies_countdown_to_certif • School web page: • Sound-proof: • Career counselor • Open Sign: open/ • Cafeteria • Foreign language: • Engineering: • Tutoring: • Athletic field: • Jrotc: • Vo-tech • Smartboards: • Computers: