considering how the physical space is organize and resources used
How the classroom, school, and surrounding area is physically structured has a great affect on teaching and learning. Positioning of students on the floor, seating arrangements in the classroom, and the accessibility of learning materials are all dimensions of the environment. The use of all the resources available within and around the school and wider community is key to engaging students.
A key to the success of Thinking Schools Ethiopia is consideration of Structuring Environment with intentionality. When developing the ‘classroom environment’ consideration is made to what best supports student learning.
The three video clips below Thinking Schools Ethiopia educators and students engage in discussions and modeling of classroom structures. How do the educators and students reflections compare with one another?
Another key component of Structuring Environment is using materials around us to guide our learning which we’ll explore in a later blog posting. Some suggested extensions include the Reggio Emilia approach and The Third Teacher, a recent book from the Internationally know designer Bruce Mau. Both connect and explore the critical link between the school environment and how children learn. The Reggio Emilia approach has a long history of implementation with extensive documentation and research supporting its success.
The images below – from Thinking Schools Ethiopia professional development trainings – models educators part of participant centered learning where they their experiences model approaches they will transfer for use in the classroom.
As with all six starting points of thinking, it is important to implement each area with a goal of mastery in a thoughtful manner, while seeing the big picture of how they interconnect in a systems approach of whole school transformative design change. Structuring Environment is part of the initial 2 day Growing Thinking Schools training where schools initially understand, reflect and vision on their whole school transformative design. Additionally Thinking Schools Ethiopia offers trainings specific to Structuring Environment as part of the whole school transformative design change process.