GUEST ARTICLE: Could modular classrooms improve students’ academic performance?

  • 30 Jul 2019

MTX Education is not only interested in construction but also in engineering excellent learning environments. The use of modular construction methods for schools is more than just about convenience.

It is undoubtedly true that a school will benefit from reduced costs and disruptions thanks to the selection of modular methods.

However, there are also educational benefits when selecting this construction method. With the school environment considered an additional teacher in the educational context, modular units have the potential to improve students’ academic performance. Here is how.

More space and reduced class numbers

The immediate impact on learning is the additional space a module build can provide at a lower cost. To build more classrooms is often beyond the budget of most schools.

However, module construction offers the opportunity to expand the learning space and therefore allow more room for the children.

Children learn best when they have the opportunity to move. No young person is meant to be stuffed behind a desk on a chair. It is fantastic when a teacher frees them up and allows them to wander and be curious.

Even better is the opportunity to purchase a space entirely devoted to drama and arts, at a cost that makes this a responsible investment.

Better quality lighting

Another facet of modular construction is the amount of natural light that is possible. Minimising artificial light is a significant bonus in a learning environment, as it can impact on mood and the ability of students to maintain concentration without headaches.

The classrooms are designed to bring the outdoors indoors, making working in this space a much more mindful experience.

The additional bonus of this better-quality natural light is the lower electricity bills. Most modular builds also come engineered with light sensors, which only switch on the lights when necessary.

Saving money on utility bills leaves more money for books and computers and other learning aids.

A more comfortable learning environment

A bricks-and-mortar construction was built while being open to the extremities. Therefore, there is more chance of degradation of materials and gaps and cracks that allow in drafts and prevent effective air conditioning.

A modular classroom is airtight. The whole structure has been designed to maximise air quality and temperature.

Any teacher will tell you that a classroom during the summer months is unbearable. It only takes for the thermometer to hit 20 degrees Celsius and the students are talking about human rights and the need to be sent home.

A modular build will keep this temperature to a level that allows learning to continue right up to the summer holidays.

An under-rated benefit of modular construction for schools is the engineering of sound in the rooms. There is adequate acoustic insulation, which means what happens in one classroom does not impose on the learning of the next.

Children hardly ever learn well in silence; therefore, a building that allows some exuberance and laughter is a better learning environment.

More connection with the outside

The emphasis in education is beginning to shift from learning behind a desk to greater learning in contact with nature. Outdoor learning, or forest school, is an essential facet of most mainstream schools.

These schools need a base that is closer to the world of nature than it is to the school car park. A single modular classroom is a perfect way to take this part of the school away from the rest.

This is also an excellent place for those students who find learning challenging to find some peace and solace. Being part of the main site can be distressing and scary for some students.

Offering a classroom away from the main site, with the option to work outside amongst nature, is the perfect learning tool for schools.

Greater flexibility

Finally, but probably most importantly, modular construction offers flexibility that a bricks-and-mortar construction cannot. Once you have committed to building with brick from the foundations up, you want that building to have a purpose for the next 50 years or more.

Modular construction is built to last for 50 years, but if after ten years you need to adapt the school’s footprint, these classrooms can be deconstructed and moved.

For school managers, this level of flexibility allows them to sell this project to governors and investors, as they can show how the school will continue to grow on its current footprint thanks to modular construction.

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