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Old 05-07-2010, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Cinco Dinero
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Way to drudge up an old thread... :P
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:24 PM
 
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Default 2013 Cyfair vs HISD

Schools in Cy fair continue to be open concept. Just wondering if there are any new comments regarding pros/cons of this. My daughter will be entering Kinder in August, so I am exploring whether HISD or CyFair would be better district. I'm questioning the open concept, it seems highly distracting even if one is not attention deficit.

Last edited by shawquin; 02-17-2013 at 08:25 PM.. Reason: editing title
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawquin View Post
Schools in Cy fair continue to be open concept. Just wondering if there are any new comments regarding pros/cons of this. My daughter will be entering Kinder in August, so I am exploring whether HISD or CyFair would be better district. I'm questioning the open concept, it seems highly distracting even if one is not attention deficit.
I don't have any experience with Cy-fair, but open concept schools failed in the 70s and probably are destined to fail again.

Here's an article about why it is making a comeback and why that isn't really a good idea.

Open Concept Schools: Why is the “Failed Experiment” making a Comeback? « Educhatter's Blog

Quote:
School design architects like Nair are inclined to base their designs upon the “form follows function” principle. Perhaps that is why, whatever the intention, the new designs tend to conform with so-called “progressive” learning theories and to undervalue the need for more contained learning spaces better suited to direct instruction and knowledge-based pedagogy. They also completely ignore or are oblivious to the many studies documenting the decline and fall of “open concept” schools and classrooms from 1968 until 1979.
It is certainly possible for an open concept school to work, but it is going to depend a lot on how teachers adapt and it will also depend upon having spaces available for smaller groups and direct teaching for some concepts. Some children will find open classrooms extremely intimidating due to the level of noise. I know that any kids with auditory sensory issues will not do well in that environment.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:17 AM
 
Location: #
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Open-concept is bad, in my opinion. A big issue I have with open-concept is that it completely nullifies the "exciting, let's go, go, go!" kind of teacher that many elementary students respond so well to.

But, this is Texas. We tend to believe that lining up kids quietly with their hands behind their backs is wonderful where in other states they would see this as too prison like (just the hands behind the back part; we all want quiet lines!).
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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Every school I attended while growing up - Spring ISD for elementary/middle, and Cypress Creek HS - were all built in the 1970s as open concept, but by the time I started attending (kindergarten in 1993), they had all erected the same kind of non-structural prefab metal wall panels. Most of them had large windows in the upper half, and one or more panels would have a door. Sometimes they would omit panels here and there in order to create a shortcut between two or more classrooms. Some areas of my elementary school didn't have the prefab walls everywhere, so makeshift walls were made out of rolling cabinets, chalkboards, bookshelves, whatever.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crbcrbrgv View Post
Open-concept is bad, in my opinion. A big issue I have with open-concept is that it completely nullifies the "exciting, let's go, go, go!" kind of teacher that many elementary students respond so well to.

But, this is Texas. We tend to believe that lining up kids quietly with their hands behind their backs is wonderful where in other states they would see this as too prison like (just the hands behind the back part; we all want quiet lines!).
Huh?

Open concept has much less lining kids up quietly than traditional classrooms. Open concept classrooms means that there are many classes in a large open space.

In some ways, open concept goes back to the one-room school house, but in a larger setting. Many grades all in one space with teachers attempting to teach their classes while chaos rules around them.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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All of my kids (4) went to three different "open concept" Cy-Fair schools and none of them had a problem with it. The way most of the schools are designed in Cy-Fair, there are multiple barriers between the classrooms such as cabinets, shelves, etc. They tend to only have 4 classrooms (sometimes 6) in an "open" section that is surrounded by conventional walls, but there are no doors, just openings. The dividing cabinets compose the interior walls in each classroom. Now there is some inherent noise, but it is not an "all open" setup where the kids are distracted constantly. Sitting at their desks they are in their own little classroom. Now I agree that real classrooms would probably be better in many situations, but the "open concept" is not as bad as we would have thought. Of course the middle and high schools are conventional, so that is a good thing. And not all classrooms are open. The open schools also have probably 20% of the classrooms that are conventional. And I recall the kindergarden rooms only had two classes in one large room, again divided by cabinets down the middle. I can say the times we visited, we never really noticed any problems with the design.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:44 PM
fnh
 
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Growing up I experienced both open-concept and traditional classroom design, and I actually prefer the open-concept style. Perhaps I'm better at focusing than some but I don't remember it being particularly noisy or chaotic. The 'rooms' were delineated by colorful cabinets, shelving etc and you couldn't really see into other 'classrooms' - which as trbstang points out, are just a few in your pod. I remember it felt light and airy, a much more cheerful environment than a closed room.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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It takes a very special and talented group of teachers and administrators to do open concept correctly. It is not about walls, it is about mental barriers.

My kids attended one of the very first open concept schools back in the 70's. It was great. The best principal in our town delayed retirement to get it up and running. The day she retired and they sent in some guy who just never understood anything. He destroyed it in 4 years.

My kids loved it enough that as adults they continue to teach in the same environment. It must work. My grandson made a perfect score on one of those test. It got him a full 4 year scholarship. The university even gives him money for whatever he wants to do in the summer. Saved his parents a ton of money.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
240 posts, read 682,278 times
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I know this is an old thread but thought I would throw in my two cents. I went to school in the Cy-Fair school district in the 1970's and early 80's. I have not read the research, but I am able to tell you that I consistently had attention problems in my math classes because I was too busy listening to a history or language arts teacher in the adjoining area. Putting large numbers of kids and multiple subjects in the same area is plain nutty in my opinion. The only positive I can possibly think of for this model is that it probably cost less to build an open concept school versus a walled one.

As far as I know, all of the schools I attended have now had walls added (Matzke Elementary, Bleyl Junior High, and Cypress-Creek HS). As a long time educator, I bow before the teachers that had to endure the open concept model. I could not imagine teaching a child with ADD or ADHD under those conditions.
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