THE average classroom in primary and secondary schools have not changed much since the 1970s.
It is a four-walled structure with two doors and glass windows at the sides.
There are a number of tables and chairs for the children, a teacher’s table and chair, a white board, a couple of notice boards and a cupboard or a book rack.
The room is lighted with a few fluorescent lights and a few fans provide ventilation in the room.
Some classrooms are equipped with LCD projectors and a screen mounted on the wall.
The classrooms are neither big nor small. A normal classroom can accommodate 20 to 25 pupils.
Most classrooms are cramped with 30 to 40 children with little space to move around.
This is the picture of an average Malaysian classroom in a primary or secondary school.
Malaysian classrooms have not changed over the years.
It is time that we give the Malaysian classroom a new face-lift. Malaysian classrooms in government schools, both primary and secondary should be refurbished and given a new face-lift.
The classroom is and has been the repository of knowledge and skills where the teaching and learning process takes place uninterrupted by outside distractions.
For a start, let us make the classrooms conducive for the teaching and learning process under extreme weather conditions.
Our weather is extremely hot and a few fans in the classroom cannot provide the ventilation to cool the room.
Walk into a primary or secondary classroom after recess at around 10am in the morning and you will feel the heat and warmth of the classroom. The classroom is hot and stuffy.
It is made even more unbearable when the small children walk into the classroom after recess sweating profusely after playing during recess.
The same condition prevails when children return to the classroom after their Physical Education lesson or Sports practice from the field.
The smell of sweat would permeate the room and it is virtually an uphill task for a teacher to teach under these hot, sweaty, sticky conditions.
The fans do not give the necessary ventilation and air to cool the hot conditions in the classroom.
It is time that we transform the infrastructure of the Malaysian classroom that has withstood the test of time and weather and air-condition all the classrooms.
As we enter the 21st century we need modern and state-of-the-art classrooms for our children.
National schools have always been a pale shadow when compared to international and private schools which boasts of excellent teaching and learning environments.
It is time that the infrastructure and facilities in national schools be upgraded and refurbished to improve the learning and teaching process.
Why should our children in primary and secondary schools be deprived of quality learning classrooms? The layout, design and decor of the classroom has a significant effect upon the quality of the educational experience. The lighting, furniture and good ventilation likewise influence factors such as children’s attention span.
The seating arrangement of the children has to be changed in line with the 21st century education.
Children spend a considerable amount of time in the classroom while in school and it is therefore vital that much consideration, time and money be spent to improve the state and atmosphere of the classroom.
The conducive classroom plays a fundamental and paramount role in the teaching and learning process.