Education Classroom Design and Literacy Development Essay

Total Length: 1239 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

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An English classroom can be carefully designed to cultivate an atmosphere conducive to multiple literacies. The key elements to classroom design include overall design elements including layout of furniture, lighting, and the controls on sound and noise. Other critical components include technologies and tangible tools to encourage hands-on learning and interactive engagement with material. The curricula, pedagogical tools, and learning strategies might be able to inform some elements of classroom design, but other elements may remain immutable. Therefore, instructors focusing on English literacy need to be adaptable and flexible, making the most of their environments and overcoming its limitations. In fact, students can become actively involved in the dynamics of the learning environment, which may increase motivation and empowerment (Phillips, 2014). Social learning theories and constructivism both provide theoretical frameworks to guide intelligent, participative, and evidence-based classroom design. Likewise, cognitive science offers tremendous insight into ideal methods of classroom design. This vision statement of an English classroom reflects ultimate goals in a literacy-focused environment, including collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.

The instructor needs to create a learning environment conducive to responsiveness, from both teacher and peers. Responsiveness is a process whereby students in the classroom can feel heard, empowered to voice their questions, and also give constructive feedback to their peers. To ensure responsiveness is built into the modeling of the classroom, the following elements need to be taken into consideration: assessment, design, development, implementation, and evaluation (“Learning Environment Design,” n.d.). Technological tools can also help with each of these components, as with the development of digital assessment or learning tools, or the creation of collaborative game-oriented exercises. The social learning theories of Lev Vygotsky provide the most reliable method for conceptualizing a collaborative and “active learning community” in each classroom (Neff, n.d., p.

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1). Vygotsky’s theory undergirds classroom design that “maximizes the learner's ability to interact with each other through discussion, collaboration, and feedback,” (Neff, n.d., p. 1). Discussion is encouraged via the arrangement of seats as well as by scheduled time for interactivity. Collaboration occurs through exercises and pedagogical methods, while feedback can combine feedback from teacher, peers, and self-assessment methods.

In addition to social learning theories, constructivism provides a framework for optimal classroom design to stimulate literacy. As Land, Hannafin & Oliver (2012) point out, “shifts in the learning-design-technology landscape required corresponding shifts in theoretical and design frameworks,” (p. 3). Therefore, the integration of various elements reflect different dimensions of learning. Each student will construct their own literacy experiences through their unique engagement with the classroom environment, other students, and the material. A student-centered environment is flexible and responsive, taking into account the diverse backgrounds, abilities, needs, and preferences of the students. Research highlights the importance of “rich, authentic learning contexts over isolated, decontextualized knowledge and skill,” (Land, Hannafin & Oliver, 2012, p. 4-5). Therefore, the learning environment in an English literacy room needs to include verbal as well as pictorial and multimedia cues. The soundscape also needs to be considered, either to minimize distractions or to include audio elements that enhance the instructional material. Literacy is multifaceted and complex, requiring a classroom that is equally as supportive of multiple learning styles. Exercises that include discursive practices, dialogue,….....

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Black, J.B., Segal, A., Vitale, J. & Fadjo, C.L. (2012). Embodied cognition and learning environment design. In Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments. Routledge.

Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (2002). Multiliteracies. London: Routledge.

Dornyei, Z. (2016). The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford University Press.

Land, S.M., Hannafin, M.J. & Oliver, K. (2012). Student-centered learning environments: Foundations, assumptions, and design. In Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments. Routledge.

“Learning Environment Design,” (n.d.). Learning Solutions Magazine. Retrieved online:

Neff, L.S. (n.d.). Lev Vygotsky and social learning theories. Learning Theories. Retrieved online:

“New Teachers: Designing Learning Environments,” (2015). Edutopia. Retrieved online:

Phillips, M. (2014). A place for learning. Edutopia. Retrieved online:

Schumacher, D.J., Englander, R. & Carraccio, C. (2013). Developing the master learner. Academic Medicine 88(11): 1635-1645
Squire, K. (2011). Video games and learning. Retrieved online:

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