open plan

an approach to organisation associated with progressive education whereby individual classrooms are replaced by larger more flexible teaching areas, allowing for different groupings of learners and different roles for staff. Perceived benefits are countered by those who point for the need for much more extensive planning to co-ordinate activities and avoid situations where a music lesson, for example, occurs at the same time as an activity requiring silence. It is also a term used for office space, where staff are accommodated in larger communal areas as opposed to having individual offices. Unless staff are expected to be working in teams at all times, the advantages of this approach are not clear except in terms of efficiency of space and managerial surveillance.