Food technology subjects have changed in recent years, with a greater focus on nutrition and hygiene. As a result, modern food tech spaces must fulfil many different requirements and provisions to provide a learning environment that ensures learning success. Here are some tips and recommendations for how to design a successful food tech classroom for learning success:
The importance of modern learning spaces
Modern learning spaces are the backbone of successful teaching and provide a solid foundation for learning success. Unlike traditional classrooms, modern learning spaces combine space, technology, and pedagogy to create effective learning environments.
Modern learning spaces provide many advantages over traditional classrooms, including:
- Encourages student engagement and collaboration
- Supports teaching pedagogy
- Transforming the teaching and learning experience
- Considers the needs of students and teachers
- Promotes skill development adapted for the modern age
- Meet the unique needs and requirements of students
- Improved creativity and critical thinking
The layout and environment significantly differ between traditional classrooms and modern learning spaces. Modern learning spaces remove the front to make classrooms more inviting and suited for the changing learning needs of students. By rethinking a learning space, you can encourage deeper and richer learning.
Research by the Center for Educational Innovation states the learning environment can affect pedagogy and how teachers teach.
The benefits and effects of teaching are also reflected across food technology classrooms. Designing a successful modern food tech space is essential to ensure education remains unaffected and students can experience the above benefits.
Design a successful food tech classroom
Teaching and Learning Needs
One of the first things to consider when designing a successful food tech space is the teaching and learning needs. Putting learning needs at the heart of the design ensures a learning environment tailored towards success.
When considering the teaching and learning needs of a food tech room, it is essential to consider the following:
- Students’ needs and requirements
- Teaching needs
- Practical exercises
- Qualification/course specification requirements
The needs and teaching standards of the school should also be considered when determining the needs of a food tech space. Aligning the design the classroom with a whole school approach ensures consistency throughout teaching and learning.
Schools that utilise a learner-centred approach should especially consider the learning and teaching needs when designing a successful food tech space. A learning space that provides students with the responsibility for their learning contributes to learning success.
While learner-centred learning is a relatively new approach, giving students the flexibility to choose what they study and how provides many benefits. Some of the benefits that students can experience from adopting a learner-centred approach include:
- Considers student’s individual needs
- Encourages students to learn and succeed
- Helps develop essential learning and life skills
- Promotes and improves learning success
- Boosts motivation and engagement
- Students are more focused and interested in their learning
- Interdependence and mutual respect between students and teachers
Hygiene is one of the most important considerations when designing a successful food tech classroom. Both student safety and regulations must be considered to ensure the safe handling, preparation, and storage of food.
Suitable washing and disinfection facilities must be incorporated into the space. These should be placed by the classroom entrance, with one hand-washing facility for every ten pupils. Such facilities should also be available for use during practical exercises.
The FF&E (or equipment and furniture) inside a food tech space should also be easy to clean. Surfaces should be made from a suitable material that is easy to disinfect and does not damage from typical usage.
Sufficient washing facilities should also be provided for used equipment and utensils to prevent the spread of bacteria and cross-contamination. This is particularly important as younger children are more vulnerable to food poisoning.
Layout is another key consideration when designing a successful food tech classroom. While the layout may be determined by the room’s shape or size, the teaching and room requirements can also affect the layout.
When deciding on a layout, there are three different layouts to choose from:
- Peninsular – creating sections or bays across the rooms peninsular.
- Perimeter – workstations are lined around the perimeter of the room, with adaptable furniture in the main floor area.
- Island – freestanding workstations are set up around the room in an open layout.
Each layout provides different benefits and are suited to different teaching needs and requirements. You should carefully consider the layout when designing a successful food tech space to ensure it matches your teaching and learning requirements.
Find out more about food tech classroom layouts by downloading our guide on how to plan a food technology space for your school.
Another consideration to design a successful food tech space is storage. Suitable food storage facilities should be incorporated throughout, including airtight storage and cold storage. Food storage will require easy access that is free from any infestation or pests.
All food storage facilities must also be kept clean and maintained to prevent any food contamination. Any storage facilities should also be kept at a safe temperature to prevent spoiling of food. Relevant legislation and guidelines should also be considered when planning food storage.
There must also be sufficient and suitable storage for all utensils and equipment used in practical exercises. While essential to allow students to carry out practical exercises, improper storage can create health and safety incidents.
Sufficient storage will need to be incorporated for all kitchen equipment and utensils. If necessary, a separate storage area may be dedicated within a preparation room if there is insufficient space inside the classroom.
Bags and coats will also need sufficient storage by the classroom entrance to minimise health and safety incidents during practical exercises. Fire handling equipment should also be readily available in the event of an emergency.
Health and Safety
A significant portion of food technology subjects involve the ability for students to learn through practical exercises. Providing students with the choice and personalisation to tailor their practical exercises to their learning needs encourages better learning and motivation.
However, teachers and the learning environment must set examples for good food hygiene and safety practices during practical exercises. This includes providing suitable food storage facilities, handling, preparing, and cooking food.
One way to achieve this is by providing a dedicated food preparation area away from busy, practical areas, such as near ovens. Food storage should also be away from busy, practical areas.
Focusing on creating a modern learning space that considers the points outlined above will help you get off to a good start. Focusing on student and learning needs first and foremost is key to design a successful food tech space that encourages educational success.