This week I went back to Trumpington Park Primary School to observe the full class of year 4 students in their new learning space. You may remember back to my earlier blog posts; the year 4 students were first using the new room in small groups before moving the full class in. By starting off with the smaller groups, it allowed students to familiarise themselves with all aspects of the new learning space and it also allowed the staff to find out what teaching styles worked best.
The three main areas that I focussed on during my observation were;
- Student engagement with their learning
- Student movement within the learning space
- How was the learning space shaping the way practical lessons were being taught?
Upon observing a very engaging and practical D.T lesson taking place, it was clear how much the students really enjoyed being able to choose where they learn, with whom they work with and how they would use the room to their advantage, when completing a learning activity. As the teacher delivered the main input, some students were writing notes on their table tops so that it would help them remember key learning points when they started the activity independently.
Student engagement was exactly what you would hope for. Every single student was focussed on their task. By allowing them to choose where they wanted to sit, also resulted in them choosing peers they felt they could work well with and ultimately show improved focus on the learning.
The new learning space has allowed students to get around more easily. There is lots of space between all the tables so that students can get to other areas of the room without any issues. During the lesson itself, I observed how smoothly students moved from one area of the room to another, whether this was to magpie ideas from a peer or to collect resources to help them with their DT task.
During the PLS process, we took the staff through a workshop which looked at how the new layout would affect the way different lessons would be delivered. It was important to ensure all curriculum areas could be taught in the new space and after observing this DT lesson, it was clear that a more practical activity was easier done in this new space compared to the traditional format that most classrooms follow. The teachers felt they could get around to see all students during the lesson which is always important.
It is really good to see that a learning space that has been designed with so much rigour and thought, can have such a positive impact on students, staff and the way teaching is delivered. Next week, we go back overseas to hear from our New Zealand Facilitator, Doug Crutch, and find out how things are shaping up in the schools he is working with.