Sunday, 23 September 2012

CEFPI - learning is changing, are the spaces?

So the annual cefpi World Conference on Educational Environments moved on to San Antonio, Texas this year.  The massively increased delegate list really demonstrates the continued interest in trying to get this important aspect of school facilities right.  It's not just more about the 'same old same old' - or is it?

I'm here co-leading a two workshop with students with Nick Salmon about how learning should look in  fifteen years time.  Part of one session was to respond to the architectural schemes on display. (More on the workshops in a later post).

Despite the talk and the good intentions. there are just so many examples of groups designing new 'old' schools.  Designs entered for the awards show great external elevations, good libraries, corridors and some attractive dining areas, but only a minority showed any images of the action zone - where learning takes place.  When they did, the discussion was much more animated and interested.

On schemes where they didn't, the reasons are all too obvious when the plans are examined.  Nearly all the classrooms resemble what could be Victorian classrooms, identically sized square boxes - or 'cells and bells', a phrase used much at this conference!  

There's been lots of talk of how learning must change and the environments allowing it to happen - the talk has happened for years - it really does need to start being put into action though!


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