Physical and Psychosocial Factors in Classroom Design for Elementary Level Schools

By Rehab Aburas, Kristi Gaines and Su-Jeong Hwang Shin.

Published by The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 17, 2014 $US5.00

There are different factors impacting classroom design, including physical factors such as furniture arrangement, indoor air quality, lighting, materials, finishes, and sound. Also, psychosocial factors such as personal space, crowding, privacy, and territoriality have an influence on the learning spaces (Kopec, 2006). The growth in technology, social networks, and media, as well as different teaching and learning methods require dynamic teaching spaces, which are changing the way we design classrooms. Kuuskorpi, Kaarina, Finland, and González (2011) found that students’ perceived the traditional classroom as a passive area, which slowed down the full use of space. These changes in the students’ needs require the classroom environment to be modified. Therefore, the present report examines the effects of the physical and psychosocial factors in designing elementary classrooms. Based on the recommendations and guidelines from the literature review, the report suggests a prototype for elementary classrooms. The new design provides a flexible multi-purpose environment that can be used for a variety of learning activities, such as collaboration and workshops. In recent years, there were significant social and cultural changes caused by the unique advances in communication and information technologies, as well as the introduction of the Internet to the school environment. These factors have changed the shape of how we teach and have created shifts in the learner's expectations of the physical learning environment (Kuuskorpi et al., 2011). It will be beneficial to provide educational planners and designers with updated guidelines to create the proper environment for a variety of students’ and instructors’ needs.

Keywords: Physical, Psychosocial, Factors, Classroom Design, Elementary Level

The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, Volume 20, Issue 4, July 2014, pp.19-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 17, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 947.830KB)).

Rehab Aburas

PhD Student, Environmental and Interior Design Department, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

PhD student, Environmental and Interior Design, M.S., Interior Environmental Design, Texas Tech University, M.A., Art Education, Literacy College, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Research Assistant, Texas Tech University 2012. Teaching Assistant, College of Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2004-2006). Her research focuses on designing healing environments.

Dr. Kristi Gaines

Director of Graduate Programs at Texas Tech University, Interior Environmental Design Department, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Kristi Gaines received her Ph.D. in Environmental Design with collaterals in Architecture and Education. She has 14 years of professional interior design experience (NCIDQ) including projects in healthcare, hospitality, office, and high-end residential design. Her research and publications focus on the impact of the built environment on the behavior of individuals with neurodiversities. Her collaborative projects emphasize the interdisciplinary approach between interior design, architecture, education, and healthcare in the US and UK. She is a member of several professional organizations and currently serves as the Education Director for the International Interior Design Association Texas-Oklahoma Chapter.

Dr. Su-Jeong Hwang Shin

Associate Professor, Department of Design, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Dr. Shin is an associate professor at Texas Tech University, teaching apparel design, manufacturing, CAD, and human factors in environment design. She is an active sub-committee member of American Society for Testing and Materials, a member of International Textiles and Apparel Association, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Textile Institution, and Human Factor & Ergonomics Society. Her research focuses on standard sizing systems, mass production/customization, human body dimensions, ergonomics and the fit assessment with 3D technologies.