It has been a transforming journey with so many new possibilities that have evolved.
This blog post is a thorough look at our classrooms from the perspective of our staff.
Year 2 Teacher - Carolyn Perlini 2014
‘Choice’ is key to students thriving in a contemporary classroom. In the contemporary learning space students are given the choice to sit, stand or kneel to learn. With this, also comes choice of where they want to learn within the contemporary learning space. My experience of the Year 2 students transitioning to the contemporary learning space did initially pose a few challenges in regards to the above, especially when it came to making “good” choices of where to learn. To help our young students transition to being able to choose their own working spaces in a contemporary classroom, it was useful to first teach, role model/practice and provide feedback on how students can make good choices when it comes to their choice of learning spaces. In the beginning, I found it necessary to help direct some students to choose appropriate learning spaces. However, it doesn’t take long for students to take ownership of this and become autonomous. Always: Encourage students to choose a learning space that works for them, tell them to have a go and remind them that mistakes are okay.
Be flexible. I think an important teacher attribute for teaching in a contemporary setting is for the classroom teacher to remain flexible. Teachers need to be flexible in not only their teaching strategies but also the working spaces they create, so that they are able to provide a stimulating and adaptable learning environment. Even at this young age, students can be involved in creating and deciding different learning spaces. Never shy away from giving new teaching/learning strategies or new furniture configurations a go – you will be amazed at the possibilities!
My thoughts on teaching in a contemporary setting. In the short time that I have been teaching theYear 2 students in a contemporary setting, I have noted an increase in students’ confidence, engagement and ability to be flexible. They are more autonomous, inspired, assume greater responsibility of their learning, and are more willing to take risks and to problem-solve. The journey of teaching in a contemporary classroom setting has been extremely rewarding for me as a teacher. It has inspired me to explore new ways of teaching and learning that could not otherwise be achieved in a traditional classroom setting. I have enjoyed my journey immensely and I am excited for what the future brings.
Year 4 Teacher, Assistant Principal - Adrian Torrese 2014
Our new learning space has provided some key influences in student learning that links with our school vision:
Belonging - working in a collaborative environment enables students to be part of their learning process. There is a sense that "we are in this together."
Independence - this is very visible in our class. Students making decisions about where they will learn best in our class. Obviously the teacher can always coordinate the learning in the class but offering choice seems to be very empowering.
Mastery and Competence - the spaces seem to lend themselves to good learning opportunities. Clearly the teacher's ability to create engaging learning opportunities is still paramount, however these lessons or units of work are often enriched by the flexible space.
Generosity - Like any well managed class, a sense of ownership, being part of our own small community and learning with each other is vital. My observations have been that their is greater opportunity for fostering the idea of being part of something bigger in a contemporary classroom.
Central to all of our observations is the following:
Cool furniture and great technology are wonderful. However visibly effective pedagogy is the glue that binds them both together.
Within less structure their needs to be more structure. It's just not always as visible.
Claire Cooper - Year 5 Teacher 2014