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Small Changes in School Design Make a Huge Difference

SHP Leading Design

Teachers separated by more than 32 steps are less likely to collaborate with one another.

After years of change in education, it’s widely regarded as fact that when teachers collaborate with one another, everyone benefits. Collaboration provides teachers with an emotional and professional support system and brings together a pool of talent to benefit students. Collaborating teachers can call on the strengths of one another to complement their own teaching styles. This means students have a better educational experience, and teachers feel well supported.

The design of a school has an incredibly large impact on collaboration. In a study of multiple elementary schools, it was found that 78 feet could make the difference between collaboration and isolation among teachers. If a teacher was more than 78 feet removed from another teacher, the study found that that the chances they would collaborate with one another dropped significantly. Removed another 78 feet, and the odds of collaboration drop to around 10 percent. For the average person, that’s just a matter of 32 steps. Even in a world where technology allows the ability to, at any time, instantly connect with someone without regard to their physical location, proximity is a key driver in how—and if—teachers collaborate.

This fact underscores the importance of careful floorplan development as part of the overall planning for a new or remodeled school. When collaboration is vital to student success, even a few feet can make all the difference.

Read the full study for yourself, and contact us or send us a tweet to discuss the subject in more detail.

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