Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL) has as its home the SCIL Building – an inter-connected sequence of multi-age learning spaces. It is a deliberate collection of agile, active and adaptive environments – and the students love it. [Enjoy this short video and take a quick tour]
Vision has to be grown and shared to be authentic
I have always felt that vision needs to drive transformation, but that vision has to be an active growing and shared entity – not something that is printed onto a strategic document and placed in a file or drawer. One aspect of my role that I love is the uptake by my colleagues of a shared vision for converting a school from fifty classrooms to a collection of flexible learning destinations. We’re working on transforming the 50 classrooms into 100 learning spaces – and teachers select the most suitable space as the destination for that day’s lesson, a bit like a destinations board at an airport.
Tipping points will come
A tipping point has occurred in the process – a critical step where the need to push change is overtaken by a desire to pull in change by teachers and students. Then the challenge becomes how to keep pace with the re-purposing of any area in the school.
‘Light-bulb’ moments have hastened the process. A particularly powerful one at NBCS has been when teachers working in courses where only one class exists per grade work out that there is no impediment to learning if you team up with a colleague and share space across grades. In fact, learning will most likely improve, classroom dynamics will be inherently positive and peer tutoring and mentoring will become a natural process. This has now happened for us in a few key subjects.
Batch-based learning has to be identified and ditched
Sir Ken Robinson has powerfully challenged the notion of organising learning around batches of students born in time-proximity. Why do we do that? Progression, friendships and creativity do not know such boundaries. We should view our structures through a different non-batch based lens – and make changes so that the needs of the learner and context come to the fore. We should view our spaces through a similar lens and facilitate deeper learning.