An open classroom is an educational approach in which the focus shifts from a teacher to the students. Also known as a student-centred classroom, this refers to education that employs informal teaching techniques in a flexible learning environment. In this type of education, students are involved in the planning, suggesting, implementation, and assessment process that places the responsibility of creative and learning decision-making on them. This can be beneficial for many reasons like promoting student participation, good teamwork, improving discipline, boosting independence, and developing their skills and problem-solving ability. By involving students and listening to their suggestions, this method is observed to be the most effective way in which a student develops the skills needed for individual problem-solving and long-term learning.
Benefits of Open Classroom Approach
Students provide their feedback and suggestions in an open classroom learning environment, and the teachers take into account the students' requests, viewpoints, and learning styles while teaching.
This has numerous benefits for students.
The main aim of learning is to get students completely invested in the topic. A student-centred educational environment allows a student's curiosity to increase and blossom around the subject until it becomes strong and the student is completely intrigued by the topic. When students do not limit themselves, they are more likely to take the initiative, dig deeper about the concept, and participate in debates, discussions and disagreements, which ultimately increase interaction in the classroom.
The formation of an interactive environment will keep the students engaged and interested. When they are distracted or unwilling to listen to the topic, it is extremely challenging to grasp the concept and memorise the required notes. This leads to frustration, distress, procrastination and reduced productivity. Proper interaction in the classroom will encourage students to pursue their prior knowledge and bring forth interesting ideas and discussions. They will also be able to correlate new information to the primary data, which is beneficial for retaining information and enhancing knowledge.
Open education involves making use of quizzes, complex problem-solving, role-playing, and other challenges to put students' skills to the test. In search of the solutions, students’ creative skills are enhanced. When students are engaged in an activity, they tend to be more creative.
Develops Critical-thinking skills
This type of educational approach involves simulating real-life problems. Students develop critical thinking skills by facing these problems and completing different types of assignments. They learn to find unique paths to solve their problems rather than quitting without a fight.
Be it a classroom setting or a job, teamwork is very important. Students are observed to learn better in a group setting. Working in teams builds the sportsmanship spirit, which is a necessary skill. Through interactive sessions and collaborative activities, the nature of teamwork is encouraged.
Overall Personality Development
Through various activities, tools and interactive sessions, students acquire essential characteristics that are required to succeed in their life. Those key traits involve important life skills such as leadership, team spirit, and a collaborative attitude which helps in developing the overall personality of the student.
Establishment of a Student-Centered Environment
The student-centred approach shifts the focus away from the teacher and toward the student. It promotes student participation and team spirit and enables them to channelise their own thoughts and ideas. To establish such an environment, teachers need to set a certain type of academic motivation so that students can achieve higher and increase overall satisfaction with the educational experience.
Here are some of the ways you can set up a student-centred environment:
Allow independent learning
This includes providing students options for projects, assignments, and homework. You can even ask students for suggestions for their assignments to bring out their creative nature. Students can be given the creative decision-making ability by including more descriptive type questions in their assessments. In addition to these, teachers can assign a class just for discussion and give students a few minutes of free time to carry out other activities (which is within the appropriate boundaries).
Ask students questions but such that there is no right or wrong answer. This will encourage students to participate and respond to the question. If the question is open-ended or has many possible answers, then it will promote effective communication and provide reassurance to your students that their thoughts and contributions are acknowledged.
Involve your students
Give them direct instructions to involve them in an immersive learning experience. Engage your students by making them actively participate rather than being spectators or audience. It shouldn’t be a one-way communication.
Assign group projects
It is observed that students learn a lot from each other. Group activities like projects, group study or discussions promote learning beyond the notes. When students study in teams, they learn much more than just the required content of the subject. Not only do they increase their knowledge on the topic, but they also become more familiar with the diversity that exists within an educational institution. Students learn to share and accept different opinions in a respectful manner. This allows students to have interesting discussions and bring forth ideas and thoughts that can transform into something great.
Allow learning at a comfortable pace
A teacher is aware that not all students work at the same pace. Allowing students to progress at a comfortable and a mutual pace will help in a better understanding of the topic. In terms of assignments, enough time should be allotted for completion that is acceptable and appropriate for all students.
Promote Personal Development
It is extremely significant that an educational environment not only encourages subject knowledge but also promote student growth and development. Allow student reflection so that they can take a breather and a moment to analyse things. It also gives them enough time to process what they've learned. Thinking enables the personal growth and development of a student.
An open classroom approach takes into consideration that the development of a student is the main focus. A student-centred learning environment consists of a group of students with diverse backgrounds and varying skills. This group is monitored by qualified educators that allow them to learn and grow at a mutual and comfortable pace. In this type of setting, students are permitted to make creative decisions and have access to a wide range of educational material. Instead of one-way communication (teacher giving a lecture on a topic), it encourages active participation in the class and enhances student engagement. This setting emphasises learning through small-group and individual instruction. Students are divided into groups to learn effectively, increase their critical-thinking skills, bring out the team spirit, and improve their overall personality development.