Lingualearn services: CLASSROOM DESIGN
Guidelines for Designing a Dedicated Language Teaching Classroom
The following factors should be taken into account when designing classrooms dedicated to language teaching:
- curtains, wall hangings and blinds help to prevent echoes
- maps and posters showing foreign locations
- flashcards and large labelled diagrams to help learn vocabulary
- partitions, alcoves, movable panels and sliding doors can help to provide sound installation for students when working in groups and pairs
- preferably carpeted
- preferably enough space for formal study using desks and chairs, and an open space for simulations and role-plays
- preferably with acoustic tiles
- one or two whiteboards with pens
- a flip chart with pens
- a good quality CD player with high fidelity sound
- a DVD player
- an interactive whiteboard
- a large TV screen or monitor for showing images, films and Internet pages
- a listening centre
- a language laboratory
- small, light and easily movable tables
- magazine racks with foreign language magazines
- a bookshelf with dictionaries, grammars and course books
- no loud fans, especially from air conditioning systems
- little or no background noise
- little or no distractions through the side windows
- all mobile phones turned off
- only urgent messages passed through to the teacher during language classes
Generally speaking, a language teaching classroom should be designed in a similar way to an office environment, with one or two main differences:
it should be possible to hear the teacher speaking softly from anywhere in the classroom so the level of background noise, should be very low.
it should be possible to see the teacher's lips from anywhere in the classroom so there should be enough room and the lighting should be good.
it should be possible for all the students in the class to communicate at the same time during group and pair-work; this can produce a lot of noise!
it should be possible for the students to work in groups or pairs without disturbing the rest of the class; this means there should be enough space in the classroom and that the furniture does not prevent this type of interaction.