Open the gate…

We have a beautiful open space in our new Year 6 area, which could be a place for kids to learn together, work collaboratively in groups, share their learning with students from other classes. I wonder why it’s mostly empty…

I know… It’s more convenient and more manageable to teach your own class. Every teacher prefers their own way of doing things. Having kids spill out into the open area and work with kids from other classes would be noisy. It might be more difficult to monitor what everyone’s doing and whether they are on task. It would be difficult to keep control. 

I think about my own learning in the past year. I work with someone who thinks differently than I do and we constantly learn from engaging in conversation and debate. I have a supportive in-school PLN with whom I think things through and find solutions. Working with a variety of teachers across campus means I have opportunities to engage in a  variety of learning experiences. My learning is further enhanced by attending workshops and conferences in person and virtually. More than anything, I benefit from engaging with other educators around the world via Twitter and blogs.

I wouldn’t like to be stuck in the same room learning with the same group of people for a whole year.

Learning can be messy and noisy. Putting a fence around it to keep it in limits the kind of learning that can take place. Let’s give our students opportunities to learn and create collaboratively, not just with the same group of co-learners all year. Let’s help them develop their own personal learning networks. Let’s open the gate…

photo from flickr by zzaj

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5 thoughts on “Open the gate…

  1. Well said! I’ve just spent a couple of days at a conference that modeled some open space learning. Admittedly we were all adults, but surely what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Some of the sessions were held in a big room with small and large ottomans on wheels, as we formed different groups, we’d roll the furniture around to suit our needs. There was lots of sharing, lots of learning and LOTS of fun. That sense of being able to manipulate your environment to suit your learning needs appeals to me!

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  2. I have wondered what might be the driver to move beyond the classroom walls. What might make two teachers decide to open the sliding doors between their domains… how might flexibility and gathering be just “what we do. ”
    Any thoughts?

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  3. Hi Edna,

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog!!

    The community service hours that we get for doing these things is part of our school learning. The year 6’s have to get 20 hours and the year 7’s have to get 30 hours. I’m in year 7. Alot of the hours can be done during lunch times and recess at school but it is up to us to arrange for some other activities outside of school. Rachael’s grandma lives close to the nursing home and I think her Grandma and mum helped organise it. My mum also volunteers for Meals on Wheels and I helped her deliver all the food to the peoples homes.

    Thanks again,
    Millie😀

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  4. Hi Edna, My name is Dana Johnson and I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I am majoring in Elementary Education, and I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading your post on open the gate. I will keep this in my mind always and remember it for when I become a teacher in my own class one day. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  5. Hi Edna, great post! I love your last comment “Lets open the gates”! Our junior school is only weeks away from moving into a new school which is built around open learning spaces. Each building is designed to house two communities of 100 students (each in their own open learning space). Although we have been working on our curriculum and pedagogy for many years now, there is still many staff who are finding this move challenging with regards to many of the reasons you mentioned above. I am excited about what is ahead, but I know it is going to take some time to break these walls done!

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