The article, titled “5 values that can impact your classroom setup,” begins by underlining the importance of reflection, stating that “the spaces we create communicate what we value. Furthermore, values-informed design supports us in living out those values,” [emp. added]. According to add.a.lingua, a few core values stand out:
1. A TALKING classroom is a language growing classroom.
Add.a.lingua suggests that “The way we arrange desks and tables illustrates to students what types of interaction they can expect to experience in our classroom,” with grouping tables signifying that the students will be talking together, collaborating, to learn. The article suggests playing with seating arrangements or doing without firm seating arrangements to promote multiple perspectives in classroom discussions.
2. The cultivation of independent learners (not dependent ones) matters a great deal.
Independent learners, those who “make use of strategies and resources around the room,” will benefit from the cultivation of classroom walls: “Consider where you’ll place your word wall, content area word walls, and anchor charts about routines, strategies, and concepts. Keep in mind, too, that students need to be taught how to use the walls as resources while they are learning.”
3. Students want to feel known and cared for.
Representation in the classroom is important for the cultivation of a student’s esteem. Add.a.lingua suggests “showcasing” student work, collecting items that show “diverse cultures, backgrounds, and interests,” etc.
4. The elevation of the non-English language must always be a planning priority.
The article mentions a few tactics to “elevate” the non-English language in the classroom including, but not limited to, displaying books in the non-English language at the forefront of the classroom, posting signs to remind students, parents, and other teachers that this is a multilingual classroom, exhibiting pictures or regalia from other countries, etc.
5. Students and their learning are important.
Students spend a majority of their time in school and in the classroom. The article suggests that creating a space that remains organized, clean, and welcoming is important to send “the message to students that they are important and their learning is important.” Some tactics to ensure the “curating [of] the aesthetic” of your classroom while promoting a safe space of learning include checking “that materials are well-organized and labelled…[choosing] calming, coordinating colors to decorate… [trimming] the bulletin board paper to fit… and [ensuring] the border is in place…[keeping] surfaces wiped down and the floor picked up.”
But, most importantly, we must reflect on what we want to convey to our students. Add.a.lingua wants their readers to ruminate on the messages you want to send to your students and how your classroom can send those messages to your students?
Continue to follow the blog for more strategies to improve your classroom!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher