open education, also known as open classroom, type of educational reform. The central tenet of this informal system is that children want to learn and will do so naturally if left to their own initiative. The open classroom is marked by decentralized learning areas, freedom of movement from area to area and even from room to room, group and individual student activities, and unstructured periods of study. Open education is concerned with erasing the formalized roles of student and teacher; instruction itself is rarely given to more than two or three pupils at a time and the same material is hardly ever presented to the class as a whole. Growing out of principles developed at British infant and junior schools, it first became popular in American elementary schools during the late 1960s. Many of its ideas were enunciated earlier by those involved in the progressive education movement.
See H. R. Kohl, The Open Classroom (1969); Open Education, ed. by E. B. Nyquist and G. R. Hawes (1972).