Facilitating “Village” Learning in KWR 320

by Nolan Kline

Any colleague who has asked me about my classes this semester has likely heard me say how much I love teaching in the new Kathleen W. Rollins Hall. One of the reasons why I love teaching in the building is because of the possibilities the classroom spaces provide. For example, in KWR 320, where my 100 level RFLA class meets, students sit around small oval-shaped tables of five to six. This table and seating configuration (which I’ve taken to calling “islands” or “villages,” inspired by local activist and Rollins alum Christopher Cuevas, who uses small group activities in social justice workshops) easily facilitates small group discussions.

The classroom also features enough moveable dry erase boards for every “village,” which allows students to work through ideas in-small groups and then show their work to the rest of their classmates. Recently, I used the classroom’s multiple moveable dry erase boards to set up stations where students moved through the space and provided examples of different topics listed on each dry erase board.

While this type of gallery walk discussion activity can occur in a variety of spaces, what I appreciate about KWR 320 is that it’s especially feasible because the classroom itself has been designed for active learning techniques. It’s this intentionality in the design of the space that I love and have found as a source of inspiration in my daily classroom activities. 

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