Learners with disabilities are frequently ignored when they do not perform well in academics. Usually, the cause of their declining performance lies within the four walls of the classroom. It should be understood that these learners have special needs and when these needs are not met, learning becomes difficult to them. In this regards, this paper will shed light on how classroom design improves the education of children disabilities.
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Every child has a right to be educated, whether disabled or not, and both the parents and educators want their learners to get the best out of the education system. When both sides realize that the students are not performing as expected, they should consider checking out whether the design of the classroom is compatible with the needs of children with disabilities.
Torelli and Durrett (2008) explain that most schools have smaller classrooms because when the structures were constructed when there were budget constraints.
This is because bigger classrooms require more building materials. Learners without special needs can cope with such situations, but it would be difficult for children with disabilities because they require enough space for them to move around the classroom when the need arises.
Space is vital to children with disabilities because it makes it possible for them to be able to interact with other learners and the environment. For instance, majority of these children use walking aides such as wheel chairs, and when there is no adequate space, their movements bothers the other learners and becomes clumsy and nuisance.
Sometimes, the teacher needs to establish relationships with such learners to be able to know what areas in class sessions need more attention, but then if the teacher’s movement is hindered by congestion the performance of such learners continues to decline.
Furthermore, children with disabilities require individual attention from the teacher just like the other children, and if the classroom is congested it would be difficult for the teacher to reach such learners. In such a case the teacher may not realize the weaknesses that the learner has with regard to learning.
The choice of interior classroom color is also important because children hate dull colors. It would be better if the walls and ceilings are painted with bright colors so that the children can feel like they are still at home. Dull colors make them feel like they are out of place and some may become recessive when they enter such a classroom.
Having the walls painted in bright colors and complemented with drawings that are appealing to children such as cartoon characters helps them to develop a liking for school environment because they feel like they are still at home.
Gillies (2004) points out that sometimes the windows play a role in the decline in the performance of children with special needs. This is because if the windows cannot resist the noise from outside, the children’s attention can be carried away by the events that are taking place outside the classroom.
By the time their focus shifts back to the teacher, they would have missed important lessons. It is therefore important to raise the window frames so that the learners’ attention is not interfered by external noise and events.
The blackboard should also be placed in close vicinity to the children so that they can see clearly what is written on it without having to strain. When the blackboard is at the extreme end of the classroom, the children do not see exactly the writings on the board and thus, end up missing some points of sentences and formulas.
Similarly, lack of ventilation in the classroom can cause the room to have high temperatures. This can cause the learners to doze while the lesson is in progress and thus, not understand what is being taught. The furniture that is used in the classroom should offer maximum comfort so that the learner does not feel irritated by the rough edges and protrusions that could otherwise harm him/her.
The classroom furniture should offer smooth body coordination such that if the learner wishes to move his legs or arms he should do so without straining. Jorgensen, Schuh, and Nisbet (2005) assert that this makes it possible for the learners to actively participate in learning activities and pay attention to what is being taught in the classroom.
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Additionally, electrical wiring should be done with a lot of care because if the wires are left hanging the learners can pull them unknowingly and result in electrocution. The classroom should be put in such a way that other equipments such as computers and assistive devices can be easily integrated into the classroom.
More importantly, children with disabilities need some time to play just like the other children, and because they cannot stand on their own the, classroom should have a designated area that can be used for playing. Playing allows the minds of children to refresh and discover their abilities. Moreover, playing makes them get used to their condition and learn how to maneuver without requiring somebody else’s assistance.
Denying them an opportunity to play is like denying them their childhood. The exit and entry of the classroom should be wide enough to prevent them from bumping each other as they leave and enter the classroom.
It is very easy for contagious and airborne illnesses to be spread in congested classrooms and therefore, if an illness of such nature was reported, it often affects the entire class and the learners have to go for medication when they should have been learning.
Moreover, it is better to have fewer learners that are manageable rather than have many learners and make the teachers become overwhelmed. It would be better to have bigger classrooms for the disabled children because in such classrooms the teachers are able to reach out to the learners when the need arises.
In such classrooms the sitting arrangements are made in a way that there is enough space for both the learner and the teacher to move around. Besides, spacious classrooms enhance the development of disabled children because they are able to interact with the environment and become independent and exercise control over their environment.
Thomas and Loxley (2007) argue that meeting the needs of disabled children while designing their classroom offers them equal opportunities. By ignoring the design of the classroom educators would have themselves to blame because it is only the first learners who would excel in academics. In fact, teachers should take their lessons outdoors when the weather is favorable if the classroom is congested.
In conclusion, teachers should use appropriate teaching methods in congested classrooms to ensure that all the learners have equal learning opportunities so that when they sit for exams the teacher is certain that they will perform as expected. The teacher should make arrangements with the school administration to make sure that the materials that are used in learning are displayed appropriately.
Since the teacher is the one who spends most his/her time with disabled children, he/she should provide counsel to the school administration when new structures are constructed so that they can be designed in a way that they can accommodate disabled children. Therefore, proper classroom design improves the learning experience of children with disabilities.
Gillies, R.M. (2004).The Effects of Cooperative Learning on Junior High School Students during Small Group Learning. Learning and Instruction, 14(2), 197-213.
Jorgensen, C., Schuh, M., & Nisbet, J. (2005).The Inclusion Facilitator’s Guide. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Thomas, G. & Loxley, A. (2007) Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Torelli, L. & Durrett, C. (2008). Landscape for Learning: The Impact of Classroom Design on Infants and Toddlers. Child Development Media. Web.