Sunday, October 23, 2011

in Praise of Open Learning Spaces, NOT!

The idea that the open learning space is a new idea and that it is innovative and unique, is erroneous. The third adjective I can agree with in that it is uniquely stupid. Whoever designed these 'open learning spaces' was not a student or a teacher. Speaking to a teacher who was teaching in the seventies, I was told it was touted as the way to go in that era, but it did not work as well as it was supposed to then. so everyone gradually went back to smaller rooms that allowed the teacher and the students to focus on what they were doing and not what others were doing.
The trouble is we forget and then some 'bright bureaucrat' comes along and thinks this is a wonderful idea. Trouble is they do not do their research or really look at the practicalities of it all. They are probably people who have never spent much time in a classroom teaching, if ever, themselves.
When  you have new innovations they need to be trialed before you foist a whole building on a school because you as in some government department, thinks it is what the school needs. Each school's needs are different as are the needs of the student population.
Open learning spaces can be good in some environments, but the planning of one needs to be done in conjunction with those teachers, principals and staff who are actually going to have to use it. We still need classrooms and private space for teachers and students of individual classes to learn in them.
It can be a destraction to have another class working along side your class if you want your students to work quietly, especially if that class is doing plays and performance or something that requires a bit of verbalisation and noise. Open learning spaces can work very well in some settings and with the appropriate circumstances, but we still need classrooms and a room that students of a class can call their own. Students and teachers need a sense of belonging or an anchor. We all do. We all need a home or home room. don't we?

No comments: