Just because there is a teacher at the front of the room does not mean a room is a good learning environment. Even the ideal teacher can only do so much to enlighten and help students minds grow if the desks, chairs and other classroom furniture are poorly designed and utilized.
Many ignore the importance of good furniture in the classroom, thinking it is just a place for students to study and learn. But consider this is where students are spending many hours every day. This is essentially their office and needs to be set up in a manner that will foster productivity and creativity as much as today's office buildings.
For this reason the furniture selected for students to sit in is important in creating a successful learning environment. Classrooms should not all be alike. After all they all have different purposes. Some need to be a serious down to work environment, some need to have an open communicative environment, and others need to foster creative output.
For this reason teachers should have a say in the personalisation of their classroom. In many classrooms teachers are asking students to use more than just a pen and paper to take notes, they may need more working space for items such as calculators and other tools that are part of the classroom learning experience. The teacher would be able to advise the amount of workspace that would be ideal for each student.
One way to alleviate the concern for enough desktop space is to move away from individual desktops and replace them with office tables that can have a number of chairs on one side facing the front of the room, but also allow students more space to spread out their work materials and not feel as cramped on the desktop. When it comes to seating solutions think of what you would be comfortable sitting in for many hours in a day?
If the chair that is being considered for the students is not such a chair, it likely will not be the ideal for the learning environment. While educational institutions do have limits, and are not going to purchase plush leather office chairs for students to use, there are still options on the market that can allow a comfortable seating opportunity while still being affordable, easy to clean and easy to maintain.
For technology-based classrooms where students spend much of their day on the computer, consider investing in ergonomic office chairs and furnishings to alleviate health risks to the pupils.
In addition to furniture requirements, environmental factors should also be taken into account in a classroom. Plain white walls are not always conducive to learning, thinking, and creating. Learning institutions should allow flexibility in the colours allowed in classrooms to let teachers create an environment that is ideally suited for their teaching methods.
When selecting classroom furniture it is important to remember this is the furniture that is going to be a office of tomorrow's workforce, and selection should be considered as important as it would be for a top of the line office building.