The opportunity to be involved in a new professional learning group looking at open learning spaces came up last week. Teachers from three schools got together to share the positives emerging in their open learning spaces as well as the challenges.
The three schools present are all in different situations; one, a new school with learning hubs for up to 75 learners and three teachers; one a school piloting a shared space with 60 amalgamated into a two classroom space with two teachers; and one opening up a new five teacher, 150 children shared space as part of a building redevelopment.
Some of those present were teaching in these open spaces and others, happy to be teaching in their own classrooms, had come along for the dialogue. All the teachers involved were interested in the opportunities and challenges that these open spaces offered and despite the variation in design, many of the issues, the challenges and the positives were shared ones.
Teachers sharing the positives talked about student engagement, how they could utilize teacher’s strengths, how they were investigating new ways of using their classroom space. The challenges related to parental perceptions, ensuring open space doesn’t hinder great learning and noise. I’m keen to dig into these over the coming weeks and it’s given me a rich vein of expertise to tap into.
The PLG is aiming to meet on a termly basis and new schools and teachers are very welcome to join.