Sandy Hooda, Co-Founder- Vega is a first-generation entrepreneur with a background in technology and hospitality ventures. He realised through personal experience that schools don’t necessarily spark love of learning, and that they need to do far more in ensuring success in life. To better understand whether anyone had solved this education puzzle, he spent three years traveling around the world, identifying the most progressive schools, and galvanising the superstar education leaders behind these schools in order to create Vega. His life mission is to revolutionise education based on research on ‘why’ and ‘how’ we learn so there is perfect harmony between school education, love of learning, and success in life.
After two years of online learning in the pandemic, schools are reopening their gates to students. Being cooped up in their houses and glued to their screens, most students have endured a decline in their physical, emotional, or mental health. Long sitting hours have resulted in poor postures, lack of socialization has given birth to hesitance and anxiety and students have forgotten how to collaborate in teams. As a result, many schools are rethinking their learning strategies.
Whether it is adopting problem-based learning or blending technology into everyday learning, education is transforming gradually. One such mold-breaking concept that is redefining schooling is the introduction of open classrooms. Schools are bringing down the walls between classrooms and creating open learning spaces that inspire flexibility, a sense of community building and ignite curiosity and creativity. As a result, open classrooms are reforming and refining students’ learning experiences.
Cultivates Creativity & Innovation
There is no denying that working in the 21st century demands innovation and creativity. And there is no better place to cultivate creativity and innovation among students than schools where they spend most of their growing years. But confined to the four walls of classrooms, their imagination and innovation suffer greatly. Open learning spaces can remedy the demerits of traditional learning by providing students flexible learning spaces where learning can be fun, inspirational and creative. Students move around and learn, participate in various activities of their interest and collaborate with each other, all of which are crucial to ignite creativity and innovation.
Promotes Team Learning & Team Teaching
Another relevant skill students must learn to prepare for the future is teamwork. Locked in their homes for two years, students have forgotten how to interact with each other and work in teams. Open learning enables students to learn among large groups with different teachers and facilitates a collaborative atmosphere that prepares them for the future. A single teacher-led classroom can suppress creativity; however, working with multiple teachers creates a safe and supportive environment. Furthermore, working on different projects in teams promotes healthy competition and creates a fun, interactive atmosphere for students.
Stimulates Sense of Community Building
Apart from enriching students’ learning experiences, open learning spaces can help nurture a sense of community building. Learning together in groups helps students feel more accepted and overcome the feelings of isolation and friendlessness. Students tend to help each other and assume responsibilities of the group, thereby developing a sense of community building. Today’s students do not learn well under stereotypical “stand and instruct” learning models; instead, they flourish under open and group learning methods.
Prevents Bullying & Teacher Abuse
Incidents of bullying and teacher abuse can affect a student’s childhood and cause them to lose confidence and trust. Bullied and abused students tend to perform poorly in academics and may even suffer mental and emotional health issues. Consequently, students can feel suffocated and threatened in the four walls of a classroom. Open learning spaces enable students to learn with large groups under the supervision of multiple teachers. As a result, bullying and the scope of teacher abuse can be minimized and a safe, fun and collaborative atmosphere can be created for students.
Fosters Freedom & Ownership
Students can thrive in open learning spaces where they can enjoy the freedom to choose tasks they want to do and develop a sense of ownership towards their projects. They also learn the benefits of carrying out tasks in teams which can help them in the future. Open learning not only fosters freedom amongst the students but also encourages self-directed learning. As a result, students feel more empowered to make choices that reflect on them, significantly enhancing their learning experience.
The four walls of classrooms should not restrict the imagination of students. Students should be free to choose their learning tasks and projects, move around the classroom and sit across variable seating options instead of a monotonous bench or chair. The formative years of students should be full of curiosity, collaboration and creativity. Their imagination and innovation should know no bounds and their learning should be progressive, self-directed and fun. Open classrooms can enrich the learning experience of students and transform their education.