This week, I was invited to share the system’s strategic direction at a school forum and to explain why ‘agile’ learning spaces support contemporary pedagogies.
While acknowledging the diverse needs of every school community, some of the concerns and issues expressed by participants have many common features.
At first glance, some parents and teachers prefer the security of traditional classrooms because they think that new learning spaces that are agile denote noise, chaos and student anarchy.
There is also concern about new ways of working and teacher unfamiliarity with such ways. Quite often, I am asked why we are “experimenting” here with children’s learning in the new models that are emerging.
The point is, I understand how difficult it is to make a conceptual shift between traditional and contemporary models of schooling. However, what we and other educators are doing is striking a balance between what we know works (good practice) and what learning sciences has found (good research).
When we see this working well, as a principal and parents explain in the links below, we see good practice as theory and good theory in practice. It is a seamless, transparent and democratic process.
I say democratic because we are striving to improve the learning outcomes for every student, not just the best and brightest. Democratic in that the responsibility for learning is shared by the entire school community not just teachers or principals. It is a collaborative process that requires team-teaching and team-learning.
Each of us do must do what we can to support the process; to share experiences (and where necessary express concerns) but most importantly, to listen to all voices – principals, teachers, parents and students with an open mind.