How does your school support and develop the fundamental skills of creativity, problem solving and communication?
Flexible learning spaces are still one of the hottest topics in education. Critics often argue that schooling, both in structure and outcome, has not adapted sufficiently to meet the needs of today’s learners and consequently we are failing our students. As educators, we identify creativity, problem solving and communication as some of the essential skills that learners need but ask yourself this: how does the learning environment in your school support and develop these fundamental skills?
Blogger Leslie Harris O’Hanlon highlights the major role that a classroom’s physical space can play in fostering creativity, productivity and collaboration. Moreover, she advocates listening to the student voice when planning classroom design/the design of the classroom as “so often we know what we want, but not necessarily what the kids would like…..as a teacher, you are one person. The students are 20 to 30 people using the space. They are the ones the classroom is for.”
The creation of flexible learning spaces is hardly a new concept. Whether the space is catering to adult or student learning, many educators have explored alternate ways of supporting innovative learning and thinking through classroom design. Areas or zones designed specifically for student collaboration might include an informal floor plan with casual seating arrangement whilst a structured setting may be better suited to direct instruction and individual student work.
When exploring the concept of flexible learning spaces, we take the view that there should be an equal emphasis on flexibility, consultation and adaptive thinking when designing learning spaces.
What has been your experience where the physical environment in your school has transformed learning and what recommendations would you offer?
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