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Here's some helpful tips to make effective changes in the classroom - from educators in the know.
At Furnware we love working with schools to create inspiring learning environments that deliver now and into the future. To achieve this, it's important we understand the exciting learning possibilities currently taking place in classrooms around the world.
If you're thinking about adapting your classroom to a more dynamic and innovative learning space, here's some really useful, practical advice from teachers we've had the pleasure of collaborating with.
There are various terminologies associated with creating a flexible learning environment and it’s important everyone knows what they are – starting with the teachers. An ILE or flipped classroom has unique meanings to each specific school, so until everyone agrees on what each term means, it shouldn’t be shared with students and their parents. It’s important to be on the same page at the start and really define your terms to ensure immediate understanding and engagement.
When changing to a flexible learning environment, it’s important to think about how the Learning Practice fits into the physical space. This guides the design and how it's to be used, not the other way round. The environment should support and promote the learning practices.
Before making any decisions about your new learning environment, it’s important there’s a mutual understanding of the goals and successes associated with the space. Much like children who need to understand their success factors in order to achieve the next level, all stakeholders need to agree on the fundamental elements to create a space that supports active and collaborative learning.
The primeval metaphors of the campfire, watering hole and the cave from David Thornburg’s Campfires in Cyberspace are terminologies often thrown around when thinking of designing flexible learning environments. In theory, they're fairly self-explanatory but can often lead to confusion when applied practically to your physical spaces. Refer to the panel below for ideas about what to consider when creating these key spaces to meet the needs of your individual learners.
Along your exciting journey, it’s important to stop and review how things are going – a race to the finish line could mean you're missing out on invaluable reflection and review time.
Are you meeting the success factors agreed on in Step 3? Are your stakeholders happy, or is there room to improve and fine-tune? Remember, it’s an ongoing process, but don’t forget to celebrate success along the way and take time to appreciate all you’ve achieved.
Carol Dweck’s TED Talk The power of yet is an interesting presentation around using the phrases “yet” or “not yet” - in regards to children not running from wrong answers but rather engaging with the process.
John Hattie’s Mind Frames study into the efficacy of different factors on education outcomes allows teachers to evaluate the impact they’re having in the classroom and how successful they are. The mind frames can also be used as part of an ongoing coaching and mentoring programme to increase classroom effectiveness.
Daniel Kim’s Levels of Perspective gives great understanding around maximizing leverage - by developing key mental models for leaders that play a vital role in the realisation of the school’s vision and goals. Simply adding in new furniture, without addressing the fundamental reason for the furniture, is unlikely to graduate beyond Events to become Patterns of Behaviour or Systems and Structures.
Ro Hill (Deputy Principal, Parkvale School)
Tamla Smith (Deputy Principal, Mahora Primary School)
Patrice O’Connor (Deputy Principal, Te Mata Primary School)
Contact us for all product and price enquiries or to speak with one of our experienced team about your learning spaces.
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16 Raffles Quay, #32-03 Hong Leong Building, Singapore 048581
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