Re-designing the classroom and the impact on classroom milieu

Year: 2019

Author: Thomas, Kym

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This research provides Brisbane Catholic Education teachers, who have recently utilised grant money to re-design classrooms, with the opportunity to reflect on how (or if) the re-designed classroom impacts on the classroom milieu. Classroom milieu includes, pedagogical practice, sense of agency/power, well-being, positive/negative feelings and motivation/engagement. This phenomenological study aims to describe the discourses between the physical and experiential elements of different types of learning environments and how space frames the social interactions between student and teacher.

21st century or ‘new pedagogies’ require different types of relationships between students and teachers - the way in which teachers and students interact will need to be less teacher dominated and more of a learning partnership. Researching the experiences of teachers in newly designed learning spaces will assist in the development of our understanding of the ways the physical elements of a learning space may have the capacity to be a catalyst for changes in the way teachers interact with students.

Participants are engaged in photo elicitation interviews to provide qualitative data which will assist in developing understandings about the relationship between physical learning environments and classroom milieu. The use of visual images stimulates memory in a different way to words, as it connects with parts of the brain associated with the spatial, which will be important in this research which seeks to connect the spatial with the relational.

This is an under-researched area and little is known about the experience of the teacher in a newly re-designed space. The material and built aspects of a learning environment influence the social and pedagogical practices as the material semiotics effect how people can behave and interact. This research is needed to address the gap in the literature which describes how teacher-student relationships, teacher attitudes towards effective learning environments and pedagogical changes may evolve over time and how the redesigned physical space may influence classroom milieu.