Last week I had another opportunity to visit two Victorian primary schools that for me demonstrate good theory in practice. Woorana Park and Silverton Primary schools have established themselves as authentic learning communities. Over many years under good instructional leaders they have evaluated their practice, implemented rigorous feedback mechanisms, listened to student and parent voices and used the learning space and technology to support contemporary pedagogies.
As one of my readers pointed out, ‘open classrooms’ have a very low effect size according to Hattie’s meta-analysis. This is absolutely true. Just as no teacher is an island (see Hattie’s comments on direct instruction), there is no one pedagogy (or classroom design) that delivers everything. As Woorana Park and Silverton Primary have demonstrated, the use of agile learning spaces is just a fraction of the whole to improve student learning outcomes. Learning spaces support good teaching practices but they never act as a substitute for them.