Learning spaces…

As a veteran educator, I remember how I used to approach setting up my classroom, years ago. I thought more about the ‘what‘ and the ‘how‘ than the ‘why‘…

In preparation for the new school year, we start today’s session in groups, discussing our learning principles and unpacking how they might be supported by the learning environment. It’s all about the ‘why‘. The teachers keep our beliefs about learning in mind, as they purposefully create engaging learning spaces. 

We’ve come a long way. Walls have been (physically or metaphorically) taken down to enhance collaboration. The conversation is thoughtful and focused, as intentional learning spaces are established. New ways of thinking replace the old, as teachers consider what furniture to remove, allowing for more flexibility to support diverse learners and different kinds of learning. Everyone is grateful for the time allotted to make this a meaningful undertaking.

Here are some ‘six word stories’ the teachers created to express their thoughts about the learning environment.

  • Stimulating space to share and learn.
  • Student-centred, flexible, collaborative, the third teacher.
  • Safe, inviting atmosphere where all contribute meaningfully.
  • Challenging, comfortable setting with teacher guidance.
  • Learning happens everywhere in our school.
  • Feeling anxious, made welcome, feel secure.
  • Working together, sharing ideas and learning.
  • Apprehension, nerves, lead to laughter. Relax.
  • Welcoming, inclusive. Exploring in different ways.
  • Third teacher, filled with inquiring minds.
  • Playing and inquiring leads to learning.

and this one –

  • So… where shall I sit today?

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. It indicates a shift from the one-size-fits-all approach, in which every child had a permanent seat at a table (see previous post re compliance!), reflecting instead a growing understanding of student-centred learning. It allows for student choice and voice, for different possibilities and new opportunities….

11 thoughts on “Learning spaces…

  1. I am so inspired by the focus on the “whys”…it’s so refreshing to be reminded that the environment of the classroom need not be directed by what the “teacher” perceives as the agenda but rather by the explored and heard needs of the students, the primary partners in the equation…I accidentally mistyped the word perceives as preceives…Freudian?
    In the past, (the teacher), I, have mostly PREceived what the needs of the students were….so good to take on board the challenge of the 6 worded sentences.
    It sounds like a great way to begin the year.
    Bon voyage!

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  2. Awesome. I love the use of six word sentences. Such an exciting and motivating exercise for staff that has a real impact upon teaching and learning.

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  3. Awesome! I remember visiting your school several years ago and many teachers were not yet comfortable with the transformed spaces. It is fantastic to hear they are now being appreciated.

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  4. You are right Megan, it was wonderful to see the growth and change in everyone’s thinking. We began our session at the campus you visited with a thinking routine. “I used to think and now I think” and that was a celebration of how our thinking and attitudes have changed. I think that dogged persistence and time and support are essential elements in change.

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  5. The question of why is very important to a instructor. I agree with you Ms. Sackson about replacing the new way of thinking with the old way. You were also correct about creating engaging learning spaces. Involving yourself in a new setting of teaching can be a great task at hand. Six Word Stories were a great creation for the learning environment. Stimulating space to share an learn is very essential to how a child can engage in his or her activity at school. When children work together and share their thoughts, it makes it very engaging as a class period.

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