Traditional teaching took place in a fixed classroom configuration with stereotyped roles for teacher and learners.
Nowadays more spatial parameters apply together with different learning formats.
Role of the Teacher
- Teacher-led: A teacher who wants to guide the students through every step of the lesson (teacher-led), will need direct and visual (or virtually visual) contact with the students. If the students get more freedom (e.g. in group work), the teachers don't need to have this immediate overview of all the learners and vice versa.
- With teachers at the side and acting as coach, students can take more distance from each other and use, for instance, break-out areas outside the classroom, or other common spaces.
- With independent learning we even can go one step further. Students get full freedom for the task without the direct supervision of the teacher. Obviously, this gives even more freedom with the use of the learning spaces.
Positioning of the Learners
The positioning of the learners refers to the social element of learning. In some cases, students work individually on a task. They can also work in smaller groups, or the learning can take place in plenary (together) with communication with all the students.
The different roles of the teacher can be combined with the different social positions of the learners. The actual spatial conditions can vary in the type of privacy and distance. Activities taking place in a classroom are by default public, because all learners have visual and auditory contact with the rest of the class group and with the teacher. Some schools nowadays create learning spaces where students of groups of students can work in private or with a limited distraction by other learners. When working virtually, mostly from home, the physical contact is completely diminished.