Saturday, 26 September 2009

Talking about Transformation

I'm enjoying the cefpi World Conference in Washington enormously, listening, learning, sharing, meeting old friends, networking and meeting lots of interesting people.
One of the sessions today was led by Frank Locker, all about transformative school designs and development planning. Focusing on the journey between the whole range of teaching (or instructional - well I am in the States) styles, the way they develop to transformational approaches, the impact the change has on space design and the mismatch if teaching and environments don't move together. Just fascinating stuff!
With representatives from the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore (and UK obviously) in this one session, a global perspective was possible making it even better.
Later, during the three hour session the focus was the design exhibition/competition. The task was to collaboratively analyse the several dozen entries regarding traditional, through to transformative space design. It really is fascinating how this disparate group of architects, district officials and educationalists, unknown to each other prior to the session, arrived at common collective decisions. Debate and analysis was thorough, professional and supported by general agreement how working collaboratively had bought so much professional development to each of us.
(We know collaborative working is effective - not just for adults but students too - if we allow it!)
There were some simply fab designs that got everyone talking - a post on just some will follow later. What was depressing was that there were still some designs that showed little education philosophy or forward thinking. Just new 'Victorian' spaces. Even some of the American Architects present were 'not impressed' (polite version). Rows and rows of 'cells and bells' design, lots of endless corridors, badly placed stores that prevented adaptability (and there were alternative equally convenient locations). They just created perfect stimuli for discussion, sharing and learning.
It's all too easy to be so so busy that we do not attend such functions such as this. (You don't have to travel abroad - I know I'm fortunate to be encouraged to attend). The rare opportunities for real professional debate and sharing is invaluable. The fact that it is global debate is even better.


Anonymous said...

I bet lots of things were thrashed out in a certain place in the North of England before the Centres for Learning were built.

There is not enough space, lessons are taught in wharehouses with classes on top of each other, teachers have difficulty finding space to work. Teachers have C20 timetables in C21 buildings that were not designed for that very thing.

A classic paraphrase from some bigwig, 'teachers aren't utilising the space effectively'. Well, give them the timetable they were promised when this whole thing was started. Then they might be able to utilise it better. Until then they will have to accept the moans.

Oh, and a HoD was cryptically informed that their future career would be compromised if they continued to complain.

I'm a teacher, get me out of here.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that you seem to post most comments be they in favour or not,

The comments above just stresses the need for joined up thinking and preparation.

There are obviously places where it is not gong so well - there are other where it is really beginning to rock..