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transitioning traditional classrooms into modern learning environments

An interactive space was at the forefront of design for Nigawa Gakuin. Located in the Kansai region of Japan, between the cities of Osaka and Kobe, Furnware has worked alongside Nigawa Gakuin to create a modern learning space in a traditional Japanese school.

Nigawa Gakuin is a coeducational K-12 school, with a kindergarten, elementary, junior, and senior high school. The school’s approach to learning is giving the students the tools they need to be open-minded individuals who look toward the future. 

“I’ve always dreamed of having a room like this that I can use to have the students collaborate and do the lessons exactly how I want to do them.”

Jay Skerly - English Department, Nigawa Gakuin

The classroom originally followed a traditional layout, with front-facing rows of desks.

Historically, Japanese schools follow a very traditional approach to learning. Teachers will generally be standing at the front of the room giving the class a lecture and the students are sitting in rows with individual desks looking straight ahead at the teacher. The students and teachers will have that connection, whereas students will not interact with other students. 
Typically, a classroom will need to be able to accommodate 35 to 42 students. To be able to cater to this many students in a single classroom, the space must be planned and designed to give students and teachers an engaging environment by utilising the limited space. 

“The room is quite small, so having that advice on how to set things up and what kind of layouts would work was great.”

Jay Skerly - English Department, Nigawa Gakuin

Switch Tables are a great way to introduce flexibility into the classroom.

There was an opportunity to introduce a flexible set up of furniture in a classroom that is primarily used for English lessons, where students are encouraged to interact, collaborate and connect using role play and question, answer activities. Furnware Account Manager, Simone Baldwin, worked very closely with Jay Skerly, of the English Department, to design an environment to meet his objective.  

“They’re facing each other, and they’re basically in a natural position to talk to each other and ask each other questions.”

Jay Skerly - English Department, Nigawa Gakuin

Hear about how Nigawa Gakuin achieved their aim of promoting collaboration in the classroom. For a Japanese version, please see below.

Jay is designing a curriculum around encouraging the students to collaborate with each other. Having the furniture to support this is a step towards creating an engaging environment where all students are able to learn and grow. 

“I’m always so excited to come here because I can enjoy the class in a relaxed atmosphere. I really love it.”

Student at Nigawa Gakuin

Watch this video for the Japanese version.

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