The physical environment can impact on how students learn. Inappropriate learning environments can create barriers to learning (for example, a noisy classroom can impede both concentration and ability to hear the lecturer). Good physical environments can aid student learning.
An inclusive learning environment is accessible to all students, pleasant to work in, and appropriate for the teaching and learning methodologies used.
Guidelines for Inclusive Teaching Environments:
- Ensure all students can physically access your teaching and administrative spaces,
- Ensure there is space to manoeuvre around classes and offices with a wheelchair. Consider the width of the doorway,
- Consider whether the current set up would mean a wheelchair user would be excluded from a class discussion because they are unable sit with their peers.
- Use the College Accessibility Checker to evaluate the accessibility of College buildings. IS Services has information on the accessibility of specific teaching rooms.
- Ensure you can hear, and be heard, clearly by all. Ask students for feedback,
- Ensure suitable lighting. Can all your students see you and any teaching props you may use,
- When purchasing furniture, ensure it is comfortable and appropriate to the teaching and learning situation,
- Position boards videos and screens where they can be viewed in comfort by all,
- Ensure in advance that there is mains power for any additional equipment, and internet if necessary,
- When using new rooms use IS Services Facilities page, which includes information on classroom equipment and lighting.
- Ensure timetabling gives all students sufficient time to move between teaching venues. Remember, some students, particularly those with certain disabilities or health problems, will take longer to travel between lectures than others.
Video Tutorial (length: 2m 20s): Is the classroom equipment sufficient to meet your needs?
Take time to complete a brief self-evaluation of your:
- Physical Environment (5 questions)