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Schools and Space: Construction for Learning

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  • Friday, November 11, 2011
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    Kabir Vajpai of BALA (Buildings As Learning Aid) spoke about experiential learning. During his talk, Vajpai discussed how buildings can become the vehicles of education. Instead of buildings guiding what should happen, it should be the buildings themselves that could be learning aids.


    A video showed how children were using all different domains learning. He showed how students understood measurement by actually measuring the outdoors. Grid boards should be kept inside and outside. He also said that an outdoor map of India could be made by the children which would enable them to create their own landscapes with mountains and rivers.


    BALA ( Building As Learning Aid) emphasises using the physical school space as a place for learning.


    During the question session, Vajpai explained that children learn by playing, by imitation, visualising, doing, music art etc. They learn with their peers. In fact, they learn everywhere. He said we must provide students with a child friendly environment and specifically, a board at a height which they can use.


    Teachers must lay out the space available for different settings and purpose. Vajpai gave specific examples about using the physical space for learning: using milestones, rules, meter rules on footsteps, and numbering pillars for math. Using a grill, teachers can help students better understand number lines and a protractor and a door hinge can be used to teach angles. Lines of symmetry on doors or on floors and fractions can be taught through window glass. Floor or ceiling tiles can be used to help teach patterns and counters can become stationary stores where students can practice math and counting. Even the fan can be used as a colour wheels.


    When asked how teachers have taken all these ideas, he said the whole range have been taken positively. Teachers have evolved and adapted. In closing, he remarked that principles of using space for learning are universal and not bound by geography or location.


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