How Open is Too Open?:
Designing Effective Open Classrooms & Learning Spaces

Early Years & Primary

One current trends in education is to design or redesign environments that foster ideal such as interconnectedness, collaboration, and student agency. In designing open classroom or spaces, by either building something new or by renovating old structures to remove traditional boxy classrooms, there are many factors to consider in order to best serve students and teachers. They must consider sometimes contradictory pros and cons, from the obvious, such as noise, to the seemingly mundane, such as electric sockets. In addition, each institution also comes with their own unique set of site specific challenges. In this workshop, I will share my own experiences of designing open spaces contained in both traditional four wall classroom and in learning spaces without walls, and we will explore different aspects of effective design elements. As part of the learning, participants will be offered the opportunity to share their own learning spaces so that we can spend time designing or redesigning based on design principles and individual needs.

Pat will be supported by Seth Silberner

Patchara Sookyangyuen:

Pat has been working in education for over 20 years, starting from a non-degree teaching assistant to a master degree classroom teacher. She has worked in different settings, countries and with different cultures. With the rise of global-mindedness, comes more push for connectedness through spaces. She has always been passionate about design, from smallest objects to large spaces, and how they impact the individual and the community, big or small. She has been part of the design team to help improve learning environments in Bangkok, New York and China. She has designed several houses, gardens, restaurants and regularly helps friends decorate their homes with a focus in improving quality of life. She has experienced both pros and cons of working in Early Years centers where classrooms have no concrete walls and would like to share that with other educators.

Seth Silberner:

Seth has been teaching international learners for 22 years in Thailand, the United States, and China. He holds a Master in Teaching Speakers of Other Languages and a PGCE focusing on Primary Education. He has facilitated IB job-alikes, led workshops on Inquiry-education for teachers in local schools in Thailand, and recently presented at TEDxYouth advocating for a strengths-based perspective when working with neurodivergent learners. Having been living and working with Pat for more than 20 years, he has seen first-hand the power of design in improving the quality of life and learning. Seth is excited to meet new people, learn together, and have fun designing spaces with other participants at L2.