It was recently reported that Finnish schools have changed their approach as to how they arrange classrooms in schools. In a strategic push, schools have decided to move away from the traditional classroom approach towards a more open-plan setting.
This involves combining students of different ages, and who are studying different subjects, in a large, open-space classroom. While the students are all arranged in groups depending on their classes, they are all in the same shared space.
This project is set to be implemented over the next 10 years across Finland. Currently, over 100 schools in the country have already introduced these new “learning environment buildings”.
Finland is not the first place to implement open classrooms. The Government in New Zealand is also strongly promoting this innovative classroom setting, but this is not without opposition. Tony Sisson, Headmaster of King’s School in Auckland, a leading independent boys’ primary school, has greatly criticised the open-plan approach, saying that “There’s no research, not one bit of research at all, that would indicate that a big barn helps with the learning process. It doesn’t even make common sense, let alone in the educational sense”.
However, putting classes of different levels and subjects together in an open-plan classroom is beneficial for both the students and the teachers for various important reasons; the open-plan approach maximises collaboration between different teachers, while also encouraging student-direct learning.
Most importantly, an open-plan setting creates a stronger teacher-student bond, as the tutor is forced to go around the group and focus on each student singularly, rather than solely standing at the front and addressing the classroom as general group.
At Bright Young Things, we have been advocating open-plan learning in all of our Centres since the beginning. We have opted for this choice for various advantageous reasons:
📝 Students are more motivated to learn and achieve
📝 They develop a greater ability to view situations from others’ perspectives
📝 Students encourage one another
📝 Children maintain better subject knowledge and understanding
📝 And, most important, they have higher self esteem!
We believe that open-plan classrooms have a hugely positive effect on the students’ learning experience, as well as maximising their productivity.