JP and I had a great morning with Pedagogy Leaders on Thursday. It was great to see that in some areas of school there is a really strong understanding of what great learning environments are.
When I first took up post as Principal of Darton College I have to admit I was appalled by the state of the classrooms, they were unloved and unowned by staff or learners and where there was display it’s quality was questionable. There has been a lot of ‘doing to’ since then and in most areas learning environments have improved.
However learning environments in great schools are much more than things looking ‘nice’. When well thought out they contribute to effective learning in our classrooms, becoming tools to support learning and reflection, offering prompts, nudges and vocabulary choices for learners and become a vehicle to celebrate perseverance and success! The layout of tables and chairs can either support or hinder collaboration and control and the availability of resources promote or deter independence.
In a recent CTL meeting we unpicked this and CTLs subsequently shared with their teams, developing a clear understanding of the importance of high quality learning environments is critical if we are going to establish a consistency across school. We need to develop a culture where staff are developing their learning environments, and other areas of their practice not because I’m nagging them to but because they real understand the value of it.
So in your classroom how do you?
Make learners feel welcome, that they belong and you are bothered?
Organise your seating so that it supports collaboration and talk, or allows for thinking space?
Have resources available so that no time is wasted and we promote independence?
Have prompts that learners can use to support their learning – tools for learning?
Have your own teacher prompts that support your questioning for example?
Promote perseverance and graft?
Allow learners to reflect on their own learning and you to be able to see that quickly?
If you want to see some great classrooms where this happening pop into Miss Hudson, Mr Heppenstall, Mrs Heppenstall, Mrs Dobson, Miss Edwards, Miss Borges. Miss Wilkinsons, Mrs Powell’s Dance studio and Miss Vickers rooms!
I’m helping to set up a classroom next week! So far this weekend I’ve ordered chalk pens, black board decals, clip boards, big jars, green, orange and red trays and bunting…everyone needs a bit of bunting!