10 Steps to Integrate Teacher Input into Learning Space Design: Empower Educators to Transform Their Classrooms

10 Steps to Integrate Teacher Input into Learning Space Design: Empower Educators to Transform Their Classrooms

The thoughtful design of learning environments is key to improving educator satisfaction and fostering student engagement and success. In order to create transformative educational spaces, the design process should consider the needs of both the students and educators who will be utilizing the classroom. While designers and architects have a rich expertise on the elements that make a learning space effective, teachers provide a unique perspective that can help guide the thoughtful transformation of classroom spaces. Integrating teacher input into the learning space design process ensures that the spaces created are functional, welcoming, and effective.

Here are ten steps schools can take to involve educators in the decision-making process when designing learning spaces:

1. Communicate The Vision

Begin by announcing the classroom transformation initiative to all stakeholders. Explain the goals behind the project and why redesigning learning spaces is key to reaching these goals. Clear communication from the start ensures transparency and helps to engage staff and students in the project.

2. Secure Adequate Funding

When determining how many classrooms will be upgraded through the project, make sure to allocate sufficient funding for each room. The budget needs to cover not only the purchase of new furniture, but also the delivery, assembly, and installation for each space. If you intend to financially compensate teachers for their involvement in the project, it’s important to secure this funding before the application process begins.

3. Gather Insights From Educators

Engage teachers early in the process by inviting them to share their experiences in their current classroom environments and ideas to improve the function of these spaces. Determine what learning constraints educators experience in their current spaces, what changes they envision, and how the new design can meet future educational needs to foster engagement and learning.

EDspaces 2022

7. Curate Flexible Furniture Options

Establish preselected furniture packages that support a learner-centered environment and align with the research educators will be utilizing in their refreshed instructional approach. Be sure each package includes a variety of table and chair heights, ample storage, soft seating, and plenty of electrical outlets. Teachers can then select their preferred package option while ensuring they stay within budget.

8. Engage Students In The Process

Involving students in the redesign process offers a unique perspective to the design process. Depending on students’ grade level, it can be a valuable exercise to encourage them to provide feedback and share their ideas. This involvement enhances student ownership of the space and ensures the space truly meets their needs.

9. Focus on the Instructional Process

To support teachers in their new learning spaces, provide professional development that focuses on the intersection between classroom design and the instructional process. Professional development should cover topics like flexible seating, collaboration, and adaptable furniture layouts. Empower teachers and students to engage as co-designers of the space, ultimately helping them maximize the instructional potential of their redesigned classrooms.

10. Recognize and Reward Efforts

While pride in ownership and a more functional classroom are certainly rewards for participating in the project, it’s also important to compensate teachers for the time and effort they invest in the redesign process. Offering a stipend or other form of compensation incentivizes active engagement in the project. Additionally, recognizing teachers for their hard work reinforces the value of their contributions and encourages ongoing involvement.

Flexible K12 Classroom

4. Implement a Fair Selection Process

In many cases, resources are limited when transforming learning spaces, particularly if it is not a complete school- or district-wide overhaul. In order to ensure equal opportunity for all educators to participate, use a fair and transparent process to select participants. Consider using a double-blind scoring process to evaluate applicants, ensuring an equitable distribution of funding and opportunities throughout the school or district.

5. Develop a Supportive Cohort

Connect the cohort of all participating teachers to foster collaboration and amplify learning. Through meetings and collaborative training sessions, teachers can exchange ideas, troubleshoot, and support each other throughout the process.

6. Partner With Experts

Collaborate with a learning space design expert like MiEN to develop the best options for your classroom needs, budget, and educator preferences. It’s crucial to leverage the knowledge of a seasoned design professional who can guide furniture selections to create dynamic, adaptable classroom spaces. The right design partner will ensure no detail is overlooked and will factor in all stakeholders’ thoughts and opinions throughout the design process.

Teacher and Student Collaboration

Integrate Teacher Input into Learning Space Design

Engaging educators and students in the design process can lead to the creation of more functional and adaptable environments that meet the needs of those who will use the space every day. By integrating teacher input throughout the design process, schools can ensure their reimagined learning spaces are collaborative, equitable, and effective, fostering a positive educational experience for both students and teachers.

Partnering with an expert design partner is key to a successful classroom redesign project. Contact a MiEN representative today to learn more about our design services and furniture offerings that promote collaboration and engagement.

Dr. Christina CountsDr. Christina Counts, ALEP, VP of Education for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces into modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space.  She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!