Leadership magazine Nov/Dec 2015 V45 No 2 - Page 28

Delivering the ‘WOW’– redesigning learning environments To help students flourish and achieve their potential, the design and delivery of instructional learning spaces and practices must change. 28 Leadership Greater understanding of effec- tive instructional practices in relation to the redesign of learning spaces is beginning to take shape across the nation, and beyond. The industrial-age model of students in rows, churning out work in mirror image of one another no longer meets the needs of today’s 21st century learners. The basic design of classrooms in the United States for the past 100 years or so is rooted in a construct where efficiency and uniformity of outcomes is viewed as tantamount to producing students with a very specific and often narrowly defined set of skills. Sir Ken Robinson, celebrated author and creator of the first TED Talk to reach 10 million views, points out the pressing need to fundamentally change the instructional approaches and environments found in the majority of public schools. He advocates the need to address three fundamental qualities in all students: uniqueness, curiosity and creativity. To help each child flourish and achieve her potential, the design and delivery of instructional learning spaces and practices must change. From active learning spaces to ambiance in those spaces, and from learnercentered practices to the role of digital tools, learning environments are primed for a creativity revolution. Creating learning spaces The Common Core State Standards provide needed guidance regarding the goal of preparing our students to be college and career ready. Firmly embedded in the standards is the focus on creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication, identiBy Lisa Gonzales and Charles Young