Education in the City – Cultivation of Learning through Environmental Design

Education in the City – Cultivation of Learning through Environmental Design

Friday, 07 June 2019

The Office of Education Research (OER), in collaboration with the National Library Board, held its seventh Education in the City lecture on Friday, 31 May 2019.

Audience filled the venue

The seventh installment of this series was themed on learning environments, where speakers shared on how the design of learning environments can improve student motivation and educational outcomes. 

Asst Prof Loh Chin Ee giving her presentation

Asst Prof Loh Chin Ee from NIE’s English Language and Literature Academic Group kick-started the session with a presentation on the relationship between adolescents’ reading habits and the design of school libraries. Sharing the findings of her OER-funded project “Building a Reading Culture: a Nation-wide Study of Reading and School Libraries in Singapore Secondary Schools”, Asst Prof Loh highlighted the importance of purposeful design and understanding students’ use of informal spaces in encouraging students to visit the school library and engage in reading. She also described how light, noise, temperature and colour are factors that need to be taken into consideration when designing environments that are conducive for reading.

Asst Prof Joshua Comaroff giving his presentation

Asst Prof Joshua Comaroff from the Singapore University of Technology and Design then spoke about designing learning environments that promote inclusion. A member of the team that designed Kindle Garden, Singapore’s first inclusive pre-school, Asst Prof Comaroff explained how the design of an educational space can be non-discriminatory yet cater to children with different needs and abilities. He also shared on the potential of underutilized spaces, such as the area above a drain or multi-storey car park, to be transformed into environments where children learn and play.   

Q&A session

The lecture concluded with a Q&A session moderated by Ms Chang Tian Ju, Head of Department (English Language and Literature) at Commonwealth Secondary School. Some of the questions posed to the speakers include the implications of technological advancements for libraries, digitization of libraries, safety of learning spaces and design of teaching spaces to encourage educators to collaborate and innovate.