Not all schools have a budget to rebuild or make big changes.
What can you do in a single-cell classroom to develop an innovative learning environment?
Recently, I visited Noelene Dunn’s classroom at Tamaki College and talked to her and some of her students about:
- the changes they had made in their classroom
- the reason for those changes
- the difference it made for student learning.
Noelene began with her students’ comfort. She thought about how her students preferred to learn, what furniture was needed to create a comfortable environment that enabled flexibility and collaboration, and what she could do in her room on a tight budget.
She then involved her students in creating a flexible space that worked for them.
“You do more work when you’re comfortable”
Taylor, Year 10 student Tamaki College
Creating a physical space that enabled collaboration was the first step. Noelene then developed systems to encourage and facilitate collaboration. Students in her classes can collaborate physically and virtually. They can sit and work together, or use the online tools available, such as Google docs, to work together.
Noelene developed a Google site, Mrs Dunn maths, to flip the learning in her classroom. It provides flexibility for when and how students learn. Students can personalise their learning and work at their own pace. There are a wide variety of resources to meet the different learning needs of each student.
These changes may look small from the outside, but they have made a significant difference to the students and to Noelene’s teaching approach. I saw three different classes of students who were all very focused, experiencing success, and had complete control of their learning.
You can create a successful ILE on a small budget!