Influencing Students and Their Learning Based on Landscapes: An Analysis of Scholl and Gulwadi

In “Recognizing Campus Landscapes and Learning Spaces,” Kathleen G. Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi recognize that students learn in areas beyond the classroom and colleges need to provide different environments in order for students to create the skills they will need in college and in the workforce. The article emphasizes how while classrooms are necessities for professors to properly lecture and present their lessons, there is still a need for campuses to have areas besides the buildings filled with classrooms. Students are evolving with society. As new learning techniques and technology continue to be at the forefront of education, college students are eager to take advantage of these varying opportunities. However, in many cases, it is not possible for individuals to explore all of these desired opportunities in the classroom alone. Whether it is the library, or simply a campus quad, every location is crucial to improving a student’s knowledge and expanding their learning capabilities, as the article states, “the entire campus, including its open spaces, must be perceived as a holistic learning space.” In other words, every location on campus should be a safe spot for students to learn. Individuals should be able to leave the classroom and know they will have additional areas to improve on their studies and thoughts.

Additionally, the article goes in depth on direct and involuntary attention and how colleges should create and improve their campuses to provide areas to cater to these concepts. The article describes direct attention as the “ability to sustain focus” or to not get distracted and pay attention to your surroundings. Being able to completely focus and forget about any distractions is a crucial skill not only in college, but also in the workforce. Employers will hire individuals who can handle complicated tasks on time and without errors. In contrast to direct attention, it is necessary for environments to encourage involuntary attention. Involuntary attention “employs faculties of concentration not normally used.” It allows students to rest and relax while the parts of their brain that uses direct attention is put to the side. College is stressful and students need to be able to calm down and relax before the entire experience becomes too much for them. Involuntary attention does not occur in classrooms, and happens more often in landscape areas. As a result, if college campuses are established with no greenery or landscapes, it would be very difficult for students to be relaxed when they are surrounded by classrooms.

When colleges are establishing their campuses, they need to think beyond the classrooms, and focus on creating additional locations on campus where their students will be able to further their thinking from their classes and life. Therefore, colleges should create their campuses with involuntary and direct attention in mind. One of the main objectives of college is to assist students in being as prepared for future jobs as possible. Environments varying from classrooms, such as landscapes or greenery, require different types of attention. For this reason, colleges must consider how certain spaces will impact their students’ actions and thoughts.

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