Learning Spaces

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“It is the learning space between the ears that makes the difference” Pru

There has been much talk recently of learning spaces – many schools are doing amazing things – really thinking outside the square when it comes to designing the places we work in and we send our children to.

Another Elluminate session in Helen Otway’s “It takes a village” program continues the discussion on Learning spaces, Learning Paradigms and Learning Cultures.  This time, it was Greg Whitby (Executive Director of Schools, Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta) turn to lead the discussion and inspire thoughts about defining the business of schooling.
Once again, it was thought provoking and I struggle to paraphrase or summarise the discussion successfully. I have been re-thinking the following key phrase from Greg’s presentation.

“Who learns what, with whom, when and where” basically, this refers to the altering nature of the relationship between learners, teachers and the wider world.

Other points of note from Greg’s presentation which tie into the above statement:
• School is no longer the centre of learning
• Teaching in the 21st century is more difficult than in the 20th century
• We can no longer rely on a ‘one size fits all’ mentality
• Teachers need to improve their reflective practices and constantly review and react. They need to step back and ask questions of the learners. What do you want to learn and how?
• Teaching needs to be de-privatised and learning needs to personalised

The aspect of de-privatising teachers is interesting – I believe that the numbers of teachers who are blogging and tweeting shows that many are already on that path. Indeed, the attendance at an Elluminate session is evidence of this too. They (we) have realised that there are enormous benefits to be gained by exposing ourselves (be nice) to the world beyond our classrooms and indeed beyond our schools. The power of the PLN – much written about is expanding exponentially. Personally, I will admit that despite attendance at a variety of professional development courses and ‘network’ meetings, these face to face opportunities pale when compared with the value of my on-line network. I know, face to face is important, but in reality, I will never be face to face with a Principal in Canada, wonderful teachers in other part of my city or state or a volunteer teacher in Sri Lanka. Therefore, our learning spaces have changed as to those of the children we teach.

Once again, I posed the question to the group. “How do we embark on the learner centred, open style classroom when we are confined by the bricks walls surrounding one teacher and 25 kids model?” The response came from the chat from Pru “It is the learning space between the ears that makes the difference”

Thanks, I think you summed it up – but of course that leaves the question “How do change people’s thinking when they don’t see the need to change or are too restrained by fear to look around?”

One thought on “Learning Spaces

  1. Your comments above about the value of your PLN and also below where you discuss the need for reflective practice really tie in with thoughts expressed in my recent blogpost. While completing the VicPLN I’ve found myself reflecting constantly on where I’ve come from and where I’m going to…. There is a certain amount of ‘fun’ in not knowing the answer to the second question, but most certainly the gains I’ve made by reading the blogs of others and interacting with members of my PLN have given me far more knowledge and insight than just plodding through the coursework presented to us. Thanks for sharing!

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