I have just returned from Birmingham local authority’s Brighter Futures conference on learning spaces and although I’m not often impressed by regional conferences with their unrelenting diet of pen-pushing directives, this one was a cracker! Keynote speakers included the highly impressive Kenn Fisher, a world authority on the relationship between pedagogy and learning spaces. Kenn’s research question was straightforward: are 19th century classrooms the best environment for 21st century learners? (Blog spoiler: the answer is a resounding ‘no!’)
Kenn analysed the pedagogies supported by different configurations of learners:
Which resulted in a pedagogy and space matrix that mapped the relationship between collaborative and self-directive spaces. Kenn suggested that understanding the classroom as ‘the third teacher’ would help to shift educators’ consideration towards the enormous influence that the environment has upon a student’s learning. In our quest to keep pushing the frontiers of learning, we have a lot to learn from Kenn Fisher, his company rubida.net and those schools that are ploughing new furrows in educational space design. Not least is our school’s association with Ray Trotter at Wooranna Park School and Esme Capp at Princes Hill School, both in Melbourne, Australia, who have contributed much to our thinking about how we may better place children at the heart of our pedagogical innovations.
To move your own thinking on, I recommend you visit Kenn’s website.