The Bare Drop-In Centre Walls

I took down all the posters in the Maths Drop-In Centre on Friday and the effect is startling.
(The reason I took them down is that the Drop-In Centre is moving to a new location in under two weeks and I needed to feel like I was doing something before the boxes arrive and we can pack properly.)
It’s all gone: the Greek alphabet, the regular and semiregular polyhedra, the characters from the phantom tollbooth, the families of number, the picture of me teaching maths as drawn by my daughter, the “solving maths problems” flowchart, and the aims of the Drop-In Centre — and now the walls look as bare as when I arrived.
I almost cried.
It made me realise what a difference all those posters made to the learning environment of the Drop-In Centre. Without them it’s just like any other classroom that never meant anything to me — a place people occupy rather than live in — a dead place.
Even the students commented on it. When I took down the “solving maths problems” flowchart, one said, “Where will we get our inspiration from now?” and another commented that there won’t be anything to talk about without the interesting posters.
I never knew as surely as now what an effect the environment has on the students. It has helped them to engage with their own learning and to interact with us and each other.
I can’t wait to move so I can put it all back up in the new Drop-In Centre — I want a living classroom again!

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One Response

  1. Ah, those wonderful posters. They certainly helped brighten up our office in the old maths building, when David and I were PhD students. We never quite saw eye to eye about what sort of ‘things’ should have gone in the families of numbers posters. 🙂 But David is right – at some point they stop _being_ numbers.