In this fastback, the authors make two major contentions in their introduction to this pamphlet. The first is that how a school looks does affect how everyone who goes there feels about it- and what goes on inside it. Furthermore, the authors assert that, while circumstances usually prohibit teachers from changing the entire school, they can and should make a difference in their own classrooms. In this review I will be addressing these two major premises (Jones 8).
I totally agree with the authors that the way a school looks affects people’s perception of the school as well as what goes on in it. Blackford High School is a perfect example to support this theory. BHS is and always has been well maintained and groomed. When I first interviewed for employment here ten years ago, I asked the principal if the school was relatively new I was shocked when he told me that the school was in fact 21 years old. I feel that when people drive by our school they get a good impression of it. Additionally, I am very proud of our facility when I have personal or professional guests at school. (Brown 69).
I also agree with the authors that this precept also hold true for individual classrooms Harrison and Bullock gave examples of two contrasting classes to prove that an inviting environment and housekeeping are critical to student achievement/performance. One classroom was cluttered, outdated, and impersonal- an uninviting dump. The other classroom was neat, orderly, yet warm, inviting, comfortable, and user-friendly. I agree with the authors that the second classroom was the ideal and the one that is more conducive to student learning. Furthermore I agree with the reasons to focus on environment that they have identified (psychologically positive, quality lighting, noise, etc.) However I strongly disagree with them when they contend facility size and age are not factors when creating an environment pleasant classroom.
After surveying students, teachers, and parents as to what they thought was important to a classroom environment (furniture, aesthetics, comfort, instructional items, and professional items.) Finally they made recommendations as how best to use these categorical items to create the ideal classroom.
It is these suggestions and the implication that I can incorporate them that I have a problem with. Size IS a factor. My room is crammed with the “essentials” of school operation. In my room you will find a teacher desk, 33 student desks, one teacher computer station, one small book case which holds my personal professional books as well as paperbacks for students, a raised platform and podium for speech performances, a radio soundboard cart and an additional small table with a boom box for radio classes and one small teacher work table. I don’t have any room. I can stand at the front edge of my desk and touch the first row of student desks (I don’t even have to reach). The students in the back row can turn around and touch the back wall of the room.
Much to my dismay, I am not going to be afforded additional space in which to conduct speech and radio classes. Furthermore, I am not going to be given individual classroom temperature controls or a phone. It is a fact that I come to accept. I would LOVE to have, as suggested, tables and desks, a comfort space for reading, student storage space, and any number of the other items they suggested. However, it will not happen at Blackford High School.