Laboratory school

Khan Academy Manila, Philippines Enlarge
Former laboratory school at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, with one-way mirrors in the upper-level observation deck, allowing professors to view the classroom
The same room, showing observation room with a one-way mirror to the right of the classroom

A laboratory school or demonstration school is an elementary or secondary school operated in association with a university, college, or other teacher education institution and used for the training of future teachers, educational experimentation, educational research, and professional development.[1][2]

Many laboratory schools follow a model[citation needed] of experiential education based on the original Laboratory School run by John Dewey at the University of Chicago.[3] Many laboratory schools are still in operation in the United States and around the globe. They are known by many names: laboratory schools, demonstration schools, campus schools, model schools, university affiliated schools, child development schools, etc., and most have a connection to a college or university. Each university affiliated school has a unique relationship with a college or university and a different grade configuration. Some lab schools are only for preschool or kindergarten children, some are preschool through fifth or sixth grade, and some continue through high school.

Khan Lab School in Silicon Valley is one of the few laboratory schools not affiliated with a college or university. It is affiliated with Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization.[4] The school's experimentation with abolishing grade levels was featured on Voice of America in 2016.[5]

Classroom observation

Laboratory school classrooms may be observed by university professors to assess the student-teacher, but it is desired that the observation be done without the students or student-teachers aware of the observation, thereby avoiding creating a distraction or disruption of classroom activities.

Before the miniaturization and transistorization of electronic camera viewing systems, laboratory schools often included elaborate direct-view observation systems with special observation decks above classrooms or observation rooms alongside the classrooms. One-way mirrors and speaker/intercom systems allowed a professor to silently observe the classroom, but without being seen by the students or the student-teacher.

A modern laboratory school does not need to do anything special with building construction, and is able to use a standard-design school as a laboratory school. The standard rooms are instead outfitted with CCTV cameras hidden inside black plastic domes on the ceiling. Complex lens optics and multiple cameras allow a single stationary dome to view 360 degrees in all directions with no mechanical noises or moving parts, and high-speed Internet connections allow for a professor at a college to remotely view and interact with student-teachers in a distant laboratory school.

In either case there is no hiding from students or student-teachers that observation may occur, as it is plainly obvious there are special mirrors or cameras in the room. But they do not know when observation may or may not be occurring.


California State University Northridge

[1] Arlitt Center for Education, Research, and Sustainability houses the Arlitt Child Development Center, a laboratory preschool in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati. Founded by Dr. Ada Hart Arlitt in 1925, the school educates Head Start and fee-based students within a progressive curricular model focused on child development theory, learning through authentic interactions, supportive environments, nature-oriented experiences, and play. Research is conducted within the center by faculty, practitioners, and students. The center has a strong commitment to community outreach and mission-related initiatives.

See also


  1. ^ "".
  2. ^ "Lab Schools -".
  3. ^ "John Dewey's Laboratory School in Chicago".
  4. ^ "What is a lab school?". Khan Lab School.
  5. ^ "Experimental Silicon Valley School Abolishes Grade Levels". Voice of America.
  6. ^ "History | Thomas Metcalf School - Illinois State". Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  7. ^ "Price Laboratory School | Rod Library". Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  8. ^ "'A Bit Of A Montessori 2.0': Khan Academy Opens A Lab School". Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  9. ^ "Khan Lab School reinvents American classroom".
  10. ^ "How Sal Khan Hopes to Remake Education". 30 March 2016.
  11. ^ Tanz, Jason. "The Tech Elite's Quest to Reinvent School in Its Own Image".