Open Classrooms: Humanistic Education in Practice

Open classrooms were modeled after the open-education programs in Englishprimary schools and became popular in the United States during the 1970s. Unlike traditional classrooms that are teacher-centered, open classrooms arestudent-centered. Students in open classrooms have the freedom to choose whatthey will study and are encouraged to engage in discovery and researchactivities. Typically, students study subject areas that are intergrated acrossthe curriculum. Students work individually or in small groups and are free tomove about the classroom.

Teachers also have a different role in open classrooms. Rather than tellingstudents what they need to know, they act as facilitators who guide students intheir work and de-emphasize grades and standardized tests.

A great deal of controversy exists concerning open classrooms. Researchdone on open classrooms suggests that they have a slight positive effect onnonacademic outcomes, such as self-image, creativity, and attitude towardschool. In addition, open classrooms only have slight negative effects onacademic achievement. In conclusion, more research needs to be done to assessthe success and viability of open classroom


1. Some of the characteristics of openclassrooms are as follows:

2. Research on open classrooms has concluded that they may encourage abetter attitude toward school while only slightly lowering academic achievement.