Written by David on June 28th, 2010. 0 comments
Have you heard the one about the C19th architecture, the C20th trained teachers and the C21st students they teach and how they are all mutually exclusive to one another? It is the, if only, argument. Teachers in old schools look enviously down the road at schools that have just been built and are therefore, in their eyes ideal C21 learning spaces. The reality is that an architect who endured 13 years of school in a box of four walls is going to be an expert on the needs of the modern education environment, right? Yeah Right! It is not necessarily true that a modern brand new school will provide the ideal space for the C21 curriculum. The presentation above makes this point, but slide 28 says it all for me: “The right space does not guarantee success, but the wrong space can make success unlikely.” This is a challenge for us all. How can we adapt the physical environment that we have been endowed with to foster the right space dynamics for a classroom of the twenty first century? Slide 36 says “School is no longer constrained to how far the bus can travel in the morning. Schools will be the last to notice.”
Room dynamics can be changed as simply as moving desks. Often we group and organise the furniture based on behaviour minimisation strategies. Satisfied at our ploy of containment and suppression we then wonder why our pupils are not performing! What would happen in your class if you designed your students’ desks arrangement around a class philosphy of engagement, collaboration or interaction? The last few slides are of the same classroom, empty of all ornament except the desks and several configurations of the same desks. You can feel the different vibes and energy from these desk arrangements, imagine the positive and negative impact the arrangement of your class is having on your students. Over the holidays, move your desks around to create a vibe of engagement.