Necessity is the mother of invention… or imitation. This semester, I have a couple of large classes, so I wanted to make some changes to accommodate my students. Inspiration to rid my classroom of my desk came from a video on TVO’s Learning 2030 series, entitled “The Classroom of 2030″. In it, Rick McCleary talks about the shift from a teacher-to-student-centred environment.
Over the years, the teacher’s desk in my room has become a bit of a hurdle. It’s too big. Students throw their stuff on it, thinking they have submitted their work. I throw my stuff on it, thinking I’m going to organize it later (which hardly ever happens). It began to develop nicknames: the Abyss, the Bermuda Triangle, the Black Hole….
The desk-hurdle problem also prevented me from taking advantage of connections between class design and potential productivity. Teaching for Artistic Behaviour focuses on the needs and interests of students in the art room. Preferences for certain materials or themes help to guide the interactions between student and teacher, but the core of the educational experience is grounded on the curriculum. Choice is encouraged even more when the physical features of the classroom are altered to complement inquiry. Room design is an integral part of TAB, particularly when thinking of designing centres, or areas for working with specific tools and media.
Today’s decision to rid myself of my desk felt like a small step toward shifting my classroom to what I want it to be, and what my students need it to be.
I hardly sat at it anyway.