Cubes for thought

A close-up of the flashy green beanbags

  Wacky, fun, eccentric–those are just a few descriptions of the newly renovated Social Studies classrooms, room 106 and 108. As a part of the new strategic plan of the school to move towards 21st century learning, these classrooms have been transformed into a unique learning environment that responds to the learning needs of boys. The updates started with new furniture and spinning chairs, then added cushy blocks, and finally included some flamboyant green beanbag chairs.

  The students who have Social Studies in the classrooms have mixed feelings about the renovations. Some students think that the updates are a waste of school funds and distracting to their studies, while others think that they are a fun and enjoyable way to help them through class. Those students who don’t like the new classroom outlook argue that just the spinning chairs and new tables were enough and that the cubes and beanbag couches were a bit excessive and distracting for the students. Some students often spend time in class building up forts with the cubes or lounging in the beanbag couches.

  Ray, a grade 10 student, who has Social Studies in the classroom states, “I think it is a waste of money; we should invest in new computers instead. This makes our classroom seem out of place in this prestigious institution. There are always distracted kids in my class because of these cubes and beanbags.”

  However, many students also welcome the additional furniture. They describe the classroom environment as “spontaneous” and “comfortable” which align with the aims of 21st century learning. These students claim that the new classrooms give students more freedom and enable them to develop creative ideas while learning in a friendly environment.

  Jamie Day, another grade 10 student, argues that the newly renovated classrooms are a welcome addition. He says, “It’s relaxing and feels like there’s more freedom in this class compared to the dull, normal classrooms with just plain chairs and desks.”

  Teachers had both concerning and appreciative views towards these changes as well. Ms. Sarah Coates teaches grade 8 and 10 social studies in classroom 106. She claimed that at first the classrooms took some getting used to but in the long run, they provide a comfortable study environment that offers students more options of working together.

  In the spirit of 21st century learning, the Socials classrooms will continue to undergo changes in the future–such as movable whiteboard walls.