How do you design a good classroom

Interior design: The perfect classroom

When Joachim Kahlert talks about the formula for the best of all classrooms, it sounds like the top rating from a rating agency: "AAA - adaptive, needs-based, graceful. These are the three A's that matter when designing classrooms." The most important thing is the adaptive, explains Kahlert. A good classroom must be flexible, for example with tables that can be easily moved. The reason: "There is no such thing as an ideal room." It always depends on what and how it is taught.

Joachim Kahlert built this ideal, flexible classroom. Kahlert is head of the chair for elementary school education and didactics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. Together with his university team and several companies, he designed and furnished the classroom last year. The illustration on this page is essentially based on the experiences made with this room.

The model room is located in a primary school in Munich and has been tested by school classes for months. The feedback from the students is almost entirely positive, especially the flexibility is praised. "For a while there was a trend that everything should be taught in group lessons, but that's wrong," says Kahlert. You have to follow the learning content. For example, in language classes, students should face each other so that everyone can clearly see and understand what the classmate is saying. In the case of natural sciences, where an image or a formula is the focus, face-to-face teaching is recommended. Kahlert believes that it is somewhat weakened in the model classroom because the tables are triangular.

Triangular desks are one of several characteristics of the ideal classroom. And something that is very seldom found in German classrooms.

"Research and schools are mainly concentrating on the digital, which is becoming increasingly important. But interior design is being neglected too much," says Kahlert. The children would spend hours learning here every day. Which is why the classroom should not only be flexible, but also appropriate and appealing. With a design that is used for teaching, with a blackboard, work materials and shelves for the satchel. And by being beautiful. "Stimulating, with warm colors," says Kahlert. Yellowish, greenish, light blue. Daylight instead of neon tubes. There are also plants that divide the room and thus encourage group work without separating the children from one another. Kahlert calls them "soft room dividers".

Of course, there are problems in the model classroom as well. During the trial lesson, the carpet was soon covered with lemonade stains. And the tables move as soon as the students bump them lightly. Nonetheless, the benefits outweigh the benefits. Because the students can redesign the room quickly and thus always have new, stimulating learning environments and also because they feel more at home.

The biggest obstacle to the massive redesign of German classrooms is cost. The model room cost tens of thousands of euros. But maybe you could start with a couple of triangular tables.