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….