My Dad came to mind when reading about the history of classrooms.
He has great stories of schooling in the 40’s & 50’s of the brothers standing on platforms at the front of the classroom and the students continually sitting in their big heavy, wooden desks in order from the top boy to the bottom boy.
This makes me think that Australia was a bit behind England in their educational reforms.
The schools that I have taught in that have a long history, have imposing multistory buildings that started as big rooms to cater for large amounts of students.These buildings were erected into the early late 1800’s.
What would be seen as modernist classroom design building projects came along much later with single classrooms along a verandah and platforms at the front of the room. Even the platforms were not removed from some classrooms until well into the 1980’s.
There is not a trace of more open classroom design, that the UK were building but what all the Australian Historical school classroom do have in common from the modernist classroom design, is the abundance of natural light and fresh air with outlooks onto verandahs not an internal corridor.
The erection of new classrooms do need to be sympathetic with the historical aspects of the school and have always been at the mercy of the parent’s input the finances of the school and the current governments legislation on such building projects.
It does make me angry when schools make hasty changes to meet the most modern pedagogy and spend vast amounts of money to then repeat the process again within a another 10 years.
Schools need to plan classrooms with an eye for the pedagogy of the future whilst still learning and building on the pedagogical design of classrooms of the past.
Schratzenstaller, A. (2010). The Classroom of the Past. In K. Makitalo-Siegl, J. Zottmann, F. Kaplan & F. Fischer (Eds.), Classroom of the Future: Orchestrating Collaborative Spaces (pp. 15-39). Netherlands: Sense Publishers.