Billions of dollars are being spent on new-build schools each year, but one vital piece is missing: input from teachers themselves who are very qualified to inform the design of innovative learning spaces.
School leaders are often alienated from the classroom design process and aren’t provided with adequate training to support teachers in their transition from traditional to contemporary classrooms while students were also excluded from the school design process largely says a new report.
Generated by Monash University’s Prof Joanne Deppeler and Dr Kathleen Aikens from the Faculty of Education the report was based on the study of more than 8000 peer-reviewed research articles.
“…newly designed schools don’t always realise desired outcomes. A key reason for this is the poor alignment between the intentions of the school design and the needs, practices and values of users in diverse contexts,” Deppeler said.
Classrooms of the future must consider the diverse nature of 21st century learning, including population growth, cultural diversity, extreme weather events and increasing temperatures, according to the researchers.
So staff must be provided with professional learning opportunities that are sustained and authentic, and have the chance to shape school design processes and teaching practices that evolve over time.
Individual schools should also be assessed regularly to see whether its educational, social and economic benefits align with contemporary expectations placed on learning bodies by parents, students and the government sector.
Research shows that when newly constructed schools are not fit for purpose, retrofits and adaptations can be costly and may not always result in the intended aims of the innovative design.
“Governments in Australia, and internationally, are investing billions of dollars in new school projects. But, it’s critical that new investments in learning are future-resilient and have the ability to adapt to uncertainty and variance,” Aikens said.
To download a full copy of the report, visit https://educationfutures.monash.edu/.
Picture courtesy Clarke Hopkins Clarke