Agile Leaning Environments

Learning Landscape Wednesday, 19 Oct 2022

When schools were originally designed for the industrial age, rows of desks facing a blackboard were the norm. Students were viewed as vessels to be filled with knowledge. The teacher was viewed as the keeper of knowledge and the classroom was viewed as a way to control and conform young minds. 

Thankfully, this is not what classrooms are today. Neuroscience research, child psychology and the changing nature of the workforce have all helped shape our contemporary learning environment. The fundamental keys to the design of our learning spaces at Living Faith are student comfort and engagement. Open-plan, collaborative classrooms have replaced the models of the past. Agile, flexible furniture that offers students choice and autonomy from wobble stools and standing tables to community booths and stadiums. Students' comfort, preferences and learning styles are factored in providing spaces that cater to the individual. 

Why do we have agile classrooms? 

While the industrial model of education promoted regimented uniformity, we aim for our classrooms to be comfortable and welcoming. Students should feel that their classroom is a safe place that caters for and meets their needs as an individual.

Traditional environments were designed to promote rote learning and routine practice. Today, along with the curriculum, students need to develop 21st-century soft skills (Contemporary Competencies) such as collaboration, communication,   creativity, flexibility, innovation, leadership, resilience and systems thinking.

These skills need to be fostered and developed naturally in environments that can adapt to the task. Rooms can be moved and changed as lessons shift from collaborative group challenges to independent tasks.

Student engagement calls for students to have autonomy and a voice in their learning. Providing students with the opportunity to make choices to suit their own learning needs gives them ownership and accountability for their learning.

Active furniture such as wobble stools, balance boards and pedal units allow students to release their bodies' natural need for movement. 

Writable surfaces are featured in every room at Living Faith because they encourage risk-taking, brainstorming and prototyping. Students are more likely to jot down creative ideas if they are not overburdened with the fear of always getting them right.

Collaborative tables, standing desks and community booths - genius bars promote student collaboration and leadership. 

Our classrooms aim to have a connection with outdoor learning spaces. Students need to know that learning can happen anywhere. Outdoor learning opportunities enrich student learning opportunities. Fresh air, environmental connection, natural light and open spaces are important components of our learning philosophy. 

Since adopting agile learning in 2015, student engagement has significantly increased. Students at Living Faith are supported to make choices that foster their learning and develop maturity and accountability. We are passionate about creating student-centred spaces which align with our contemporary approach to learning. 

- Bianca Ravi, Director of Learning