Sunday, March 20, 2011

More thinking about 'spaces'

Connected with this blog this morning:

Classroom Environments: Does Space Make a Difference?

Although I feel we are a long way down the track compared with the classrooms described in this blog, it does again raise the question, 'how do we create dynamic learning spaces that enhance opportunities to achieve our vision for learning?'.
An interesting task at the bottom - photographing your classroom and sharing aspects of it. I'm still very interested in considering the further development of outdoor learning spaces also.
What might your ideal learning space look like?


  1. The ability to percieve and create dynamic learning spaces is relative to ones ability to think dynamically about how learning occurs. If you can see how dynamic learning should and might be then the spaces physical or otherwise can follow.

  2. I agree completely. So, rather than thinking about the spaces in isolation, we first need to have deep understanding about learning and knowledge of our learner and then we can start to craft the physical space alongside the thinking space. I also like the term the Principal at the SOTA in Singapore used 'architecture of the mind' and then architecture of the space to enhance this.

  3. Yep it's all about the mind space really. I think we need to be very mindful of making spaces as flexible as we possibly can. Who knows what learning might look like from one day to the next and how it might be enhanced by the ability to change a space?
    I'd love our "play" spaces to be more flexible too. Remember the magic of making huts and creating the inhabitants to live in them? Are our modern playgrounds too safe and secure and static?

  4. Having a flexible learning environment also highlights a belief that learning doesn't have to happen around 4 walls, between the confines of a school bell or with a teacher present.

    Where do you do your best learning?

  5. Today whilst on lunchtime duty I came across a group of around a dozen senior boys having a whole lot of fun with an old tyre and a gutterboard. They were taking turns to roll inside the tyre down a slight hill, using the gutterboard as a launching ramp. Then they turned to rolling the tyre down the hill and seeing how many kids could jump over the rolling tyre before its roll depleted. There was applause, high fives and laughter as they worked and played together.

    These kids were co-operating beautifully, thinking creatively and problem solving as they taught themselves a whole bunch of physics. They were resilient, interdependent and certainly motivated in their play/learning. They were showing creative, rational, critical and reflective thinking and communicating effectively with each other.

    I watched from a distance, making sure that they were safe and happy, and each time I passed their play/learning space I had another sneaky watch. However, when they spotted me, there were hasty nudges and whispers of "teacher, teacher!" and they all had a sneaky look back at me, with guilty looks on their faces. When they saw my (lack of) reaction, they checked themselves briefly, making sure what they were doing was safe and not too silly or over the top, and then they carried on with their fun.

    Have we given these kids the message that we can only play with designated "play equipment"? What messages have we unwittingly given these kids about play, discovery and learning? Are they already separate entities in the minds of these 9 and 10 year-olds? How can we change this perception by developing our play/learning spaces around the school and/or by more effectively demonstrating what we value?

  6. What a great observation Sue. Good on you for not jumping in and taking over the learning (and more importantly, spoiling the fun!). You made sure they were safe, the first requirement, but from there, let the learning and fun happen. I would like to think that play, discovery and learning aren't separate entities for our children, but part of me thinks that maybe they are in their minds. I wonder if there are more simple but effective things that can be done to encourage imagination and more play / learning of this sought. Maybe if we provide some stuff (who knows what), make it available, and see what happens. As long as it's safe, why not?

  7. How great would it be if we shared these stories about learning in a forum where teachers meet together to learn?? Oh, Monday and Friday at 7:45am?

  8. Oh that's cool Sue..and exactly the type of flexibility and inventiveness I was referring to in my earlier comment and worrying we had somehow stifled...