How Furnishings Affect Learning

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FNI_Hillel__067 How do you remember your grade school furniture? Is it a fond memory, or do you recall small, unyielding chairs and uniform desks in rows? For me, just adjusting to sitting in one place for a long time was a huge task, and even now, we expect the “squirmiest” members of our society to sit still and listen to learn. Maybe 45% of them are able to learn well that way, but kinesthetic learners, or those who need more quiet space to learn are out of luck in a traditional classroom. At this FNI elementary project outside of Tampa, an inexpensive renovation and a variety of furnishings have created a learning community that supports multiple learning modalities and allows kids to move around! The scene above shows a student presentation space set up in a commons area visible from an adjacent learning studio. Lightweight cubes and tables on wheels allow students and teachers to reconfigure their spaces to learn in different ways.

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