Whose space is it?

How we design spaces send important messages about what and who we value.

Photo of Mark Silberberg
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Why do too many classrooms provide expensive and ergonomically designed chairs for teachers (who shouldn't need to use them) and uncomfortable and cheap chairs for kids who spend too much time having to sit in them? If kids do need to spend time in chairs (an assumption we should challenge) then shouldn't we at least provide a variety of learning focused seating options (I'm assuming that even an expensive and ergonomically designed chair might not always be the best choice)?

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Photo of Elysa Fenenbock
Team

Great point. I agree that the spaces, and what we put in them, makes a huge statement about values.

I wonder if there are inexpensive hacks that could actually make the redesign of the space really fun. For instance, there are some really amazing things you can do with cardboard. (http://www.chairigami.com/the-story.html). Seems like inviting your students to design with you could be a great way to incorporate build skills, sustainability/materials/science, and art into the classroom.

Photo of Ellen Deutscher
Team

Elysa,
I definitely think playing with space can be done inexpensively, even working with furniture that already exists in the space. This is where the students' minds hold so many imaginative opportunities!!

Photo of Jennifer Auten
Team

This seems like a great idea to get students involved in.

Photo of Jennifer Auten
Team

My school recently gave funds to each teacher for "flexible furniture". I have a variety of traditional chairs, standing areas, wobble stools, and cushions for students. Each day when students arrive they pick what they want, and can change their mind during the day. I agree that they should be as comfortable as we are!

Photo of Myron Williams
Team

i agree - but I also am learning that standing desks may be a way to relieve sitting pressure, and at the same time be more healthy. maybe we need to design seats which adjust in height for students so they can lean, sit, or stand.