Monday, 19 January 2015

The Learning Environment and a Discussion on Professionalism

Learning Spaces
We are so lucky to have such a wealth of knowledge and experience on our senior leadership team. I have been inspired by Claire's journey of learning spaces for a few years now after meeting her in the Educamp circles and then staying connected via Twitter. It is fantastic now to be working alongside her as we both fulfil a dream.

Today she, and Helen, imparted the theory and their knowledge about learning spaces. The number one message: everything we are doing is for the learner. This means that we have to think about the why - before the how and the what (practices are put in place). 

There are 7 spaces to make up a classroom: group, secret, data, watching, publishing, performing and participation spaces. We can certainly see all of these things in the plans of our habitats.

One of the most enlightening parts of the day for me was having the chance to Skype with the design and development architect, Wayne Stevens. It was so fantastic to hear him speak to his design and explain the theories behind different aspects. Credit for these notes goes to Claire, as I was too busy hanging on to every word.

  • The architecture can shape the behaviour and engage the students
  • The spaces will allow authentic, messy play, small and large group work, performance spaces
  • Children will be able to develop relationships with a range of adults
  • Building designed to suit the environment including schist
  • Interior has acoustic treatment to prevent reverberation: underlay, ceiling,
  • There is a closed off space that allows for acoustic isolation
  • Within each habitat, teachers need to plan for what daily activities are needed and where those activities will take place
  • Furniture: it’s not about moving furniture around on a daily basis. Moving furniture creates down time. The spaces need to be set up.
  • Education needs to be transformed and this will happen with personalisation and student agency.
  • Neuro science: the blue light makes the brain attentive. (South light)
  • Need to expel the carbon dioxide by opening windows even in winter
  • Blockers (typically parents) will show concern re noise
  • Groups sharing a space become white noise
  • Displays: teachers need to define the purpose of display and agreed practice
  • Montessori: meaningful displays that show the learning process
  • Internal glass creates transparency which promotes transparency of practice and openness of learning

It started to get real when we were given the floor plan along with the list of planned furniture. I think everyone in the room is just waiting now for that site visit so we can check to see if what's in our heads is for real!!!

I really love that this team, right from the top, live their speak. The latest big project was to develop our definition of professionalism. In two groups we had to come up with four 'elements' and list the details behind that. Then we had to write a statement 'Professionalism looks like.... because... because...' I really liked that we had to justify our over arching statement twice as it really made us consider the WHY! From here we then talked through and joined the two documents all together with the principal as a facilitator continually checking that we agreed. What an eye-opening and amazing process to go through. It took quite some time but we really had ownership of that document and will live by it because of that.

1 comment:

  1. Over the years I have listened intently to Claire's journey of learning spaces too, as I was creating learning spaces in my previous classroom. There will be no Bed, Bath and Beyond here! Isn't the whole process so amazing? Being a part of building this environment and learning about it together before it is complete?! A real presence of ownership for everyone is evident!
    You are truly fortunate to be working with a team of educators who 'Walk the Walk' not just 'Talk the Talk'.