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21st Century Learning

Posted: October 1, 2012 by hrdou in Education

Schooling is beginning to challenge our long held beliefs to better meet the needs of today’s students and teachers.

For 150 years schools have been operating in a closed classroom system with an individual teacher for each group of students.  However, research over the past 10 years has lead to this new method of ‘flexible learningspaces’ in schools.

Anglesea Primary School’s new spacious learning centre

Last year Anglesea Primary School underwent a drastic transformation when it moved into a new state of the art building.  The primary school introduced a new modern way of teaching and learning with flexible learning spaces instead of individual classrooms.

Principal of Anglesea Primary School Pamela Sandlant, said that the flexible learning space design has had any benefits for teachers and students as the old way of teaching was unrealistic in order to reach students and teachers full potential.

“It’s quite unnatural I think for students of a certain age to be grouped with one teacher. So in having flexible learning spaces that allows us to have team teaching and it allows us to have multi age groupings of students” she said.

Mrs Sandlant contends that flexible learning spaces will help students now and in the future with their learning.

“Tasks can be provided for students at their point of need and if you look at what the senior students are doing there is a lot more ownership around their learning. They are going to know how to learn and be lifelong learners” she said.

The inspiration for this new spacious learning centre stems from the ideas of designer and architect known as ‘Pricash Nair’ who specialises in spaces for educational purposes.

“A lot of ideas and thoughts and thinking were based around his research and his principles around what constitutes a really good school” Mrs Sandlant said.

 

 
Teacher Julie Sampson working with grades 3-6.

As someone less experienced in the field first year graduate Natalie Virgona says that ‘flexible learning spaces’ is a great way for her to learn from the other teachers who have been in the industry for a lot longer, by observing their teaching practice.

“I think from my point of view it’s good to watch other people doing what they do as a natural part of their teaching” Mrs Virgona said.

“It’s good just to be able to observe and to be involved, which you wouldn’t get if you were in a closed classroom. Therefore you see those things that they probably wouldn’t even realise they they’re doing that you can use in your teaching or at least be aware of” she said.

 

 

Teachers say that there are many positives resulting from teaching students using the ‘flexible learning space’ method in schools.

Middle school teacher Fleur Kukler believes that having 3/4s and 5/6s working together in the same space instead of individual classrooms has had a very positive social outcome for the students.

“They’re definitely more empathetic towards each other and each other’s needs as well and you quite often see a grade five or a grade six doing a task with a grade three or four just to help them out” said Miss Kukler.

 

 

The days of students sitting in rows at their desks in classrooms with one teacher up the front are slowly fading out, as ‘flexible learning spaces’ in schools are fast approaching.

As Anglesea Primary School has demonstrated moving into 21st century education is not only beneficial for students intellectually and socially but it has also meant educators are becoming better at their craft, to ensure children are reaching their full potential as they prepare for their future.