Flexible Learning Environments
Current education thinking suggests that we have moved from an information society to a knowledge society where educational approaches are student centred, there is instant access to information, and learning is global and strongly focused on collaboration. Flexible Learning Environments(FLE’s) provide flexible spaces that cater for these approaches and encourages students to think and work in a different way.
FLE’s are ‘learning spaces’ to experiment, collaborate, practise, celebrate, learn, work and play. As an environment for student learning, FLE’s are more than just a room.
They are an environment where students:
- Use alternative adaptable seating arrangements to meet the learning situation
- Work collaboratively in a team environment
- Develop problem-solving skills and strategies
- Construct learning in a cooperative way
- Develop social skills and citizenship by working in a more social setting
- Take ownership (student agency) for their learning
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?
- The classroom becomes ‘learning centred’ not ‘teacher centred’
- Students are supported to become open communicators and their confidence improves
- Academic, social, cultural and experimentation experiences are extended
- The physical barriers e.g. desks and chairs are removed so students can work collaboratively
- Teachers workspace is integrated into the learning common and students see their teacher as an integral part of the environment
- A variety of spaces are on offer e.g. indoor/outdoor, large floor space, small meeting rooms, collaboration benches, hot desks for laptops
- Space is flexible and adaptable
- Space mirrors modern working environments in the business sector (e.g. hot-desking at ASB)
- Students are open to taking risks
- Caters for a 21st-century digital environment
PEDAGOGY IN OUR FLE
We believe our children learn best by constructing meaning within a conceptually driven curriculum.
This means you will see students taking responsibility for the direction of their own learning and self-selecting the learning space and furniture that best matches their needs.
This includes collaborative work, research, independent activities, large group sharing and teacher-directed sessions. Self-management is a key feature of this type of pedagogy, and FLE’s enhance this approach.
Even though it’s an open learning space, students still need to have an influential and positive relationship with their teachers, which is a fundamental requirement in middle school education.
While working with students in the whole FLE, it’s important teachers need an understanding of each student’s needs on a one-on-one basis.
APPROACHES TO TEACHING
FLEs provide opportunities for teachers to structure the way they work with students in different ways, depending on the learning needs of the students. Through co-teaching strategies including Parallel Teaching, Station Teaching, Alternative Teaching and Team teaching, teachers are able to differentiate approaches to teaching and learning.
At Pasadena, we co-constructed a common definition of collaboration symbolised by our tuna from the Waitītko stream surrounding our school.
Collaboration is working together effectively to achieve a shared vision. This encompasses:
- Shared vision, values, language – trust, parity, reciprocity
- Joint work and shared learning – reflection, self-assessment, challenge, support, being accountable, working together effectively as equals in a reciprocal way to achieve goals
- Relationships – working effectively together, team functioning
- Pedagogy – to collectively create and achieve excellence
- Effective systems and structures