Making space for a teaching place

Year: 2017

Author: Ructtinger, Liliana

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The fields of architecture, psychology and philosophy have given much thought to the ways in which the spaces we inhabit can change the way that we behave, feel and think. These are significant considerations for educators, particularly in the context of the increasing importance being given to 21st century capabilities - which ACARA have termed the General Capabilities. These are capabilities thought to be required to successfully address the social, economic, technical, scientific, health and ecological challenges of the future. Critical and Creative Thinking is one of these capabilities.

It's been thought that these capabilities are best taught through "new" pedagogies - broadly distinguishable by their student-centred, constructivist and often inquiry-based characteristics. These pedagogies are being implemented by educators, often with the aid of increasingly more sophisticated learning technologies.

In parallel, interest has grown in the use of innovative school designs, both at the school and classroom level. Buildings are being designed with flexible spaces and classrooms are being rearranged in new ways and with different furnishings and equipment.

This changing school landscape has important implications for teaching and learning, particularly for how space can be used advantageously in ways that support learning goals rather than challenge students in "construct-irrelevant" ways.

This paper reports on the findings of a literature review and a series of case studies that were conducted to examine the teaching of critical and creative thinking in a range of NSW schools. Recommendations are focused on how space can be used as a tool to support different pedagogies, such as those required to teach the General Capabilities.