Classroom arrangement

"A range of activities and ways of working need to be accommodated to suit a flexible learning style. This includes working individually or in small groups and taking part in whole group discussions or presentations (by pupils or teacher). The needs of different users mustbe considered." - Schools for the future. DfES. (2002)

Flexibility in education also implies flexibility in the classroom. The arrangement of classrooms is constantly changing. And especially the arrangement of the pupils' desks. In many classrooms, the so-called phenomenon of the "theme corners" can be encountered. There is a narrative corner, a computer area, a working area, a music corner... Interestingly, these corners often do not change over the years throughout the period that a teacher is using the same room. Only the space between the corners, usually one packed with benches and chairs, more or less directed towards the board, could be reconfigured. The arrangement may change according to the signals given by the students, because of a special activity taking place,...



"The school is flexible in terms of the layout, and ofinteraction between outdoor and indoor activities.School buildings are exciting when the outdoor becomesindoor and vice versa. This can for example be achieved by studying on the benches in a garden or planting treesinside the school building to discuss their morphology. " - Gertjan Meijer, advisor, M3V 

Many teachers state they would love to teach outdoors, but do not have the capabilities. Teaching outside is perceived as an intense experience, as a break from the daily grind. It is a chance to do things that would be impossible inside. Walking around freely, picking up things, feeling, smelling, sitting, standing, ... "The outdoor" is a rich environment, very stimulating and very different than the "indoors". Inside is dull, often too hot or too cold, it means sitting still and listening ... No, no, it is much more fun outside ...


Context matters

"Eduction is not about teaching people, it's about people learning. Now we're going back to something we used to do, which is learning by doing, rather than learning just by listening." - JP Rangaswami. (2010)

The school of the future is an active school. A school where you can learn by doing. Where you can develop practical experiences. Where you learn skills that will be of use in the real world.

One of the most explicit ideas about innovation in education is experiential learning. This comes in many forms and sizes, from a nursery to higher education. The idea is that by imitating real situations as closely as possible, students gain experiences they can apply directly in future practice. In secondary education, this may involve a project in which students set up a small business.

Context matters

Over the wall-approach

"Group spaces for the future should be adequately sized and flexible enough to accommodate a wider range of users and various ways of learning." - Schools for the future. DfES. (2002)


Schools not only adopt many new functions through the concept of community schools. The school can literally no longer be contained within its walls. Education no longer looks only at itself when problems need to be solved. Ideas from the corporate world, such as the "open working landscape" in the office, slowly seep into educational premises. Schools work together in school communities and even within international programs.

Over the wall-approach

Educational paradigms

Holistic - Flexible - Social - Theory vs. practice

These days, the need for a thorough educational reform can be heard in pedagogical circles around the world. Learning should be more flexible, more focused on experience, creativity should be given more importance, new technology should be incorporated, the school must adapt to the ever present internet...


Firstly, education must become more flexible. People talk about individual learning paths, talent-driven approach, organic learning. In the past, education was linear, almost without any effort for individualisation. Learners with additional needs got left behind and often ended up in the alternative (special) education system. Modern education pradagms state that all pupils should be given all the chances and guidance necessary. For example, we speak of inclusion when children with certain disabilities are taken to "regular" education. Thus, education becomes more organic, all pupils start at their own specific knowledge level and follow a path that is outlined just for them. This road may change over time because the proposed development paths, projects or programs are not being followed rigidly and at all cost.