Innovative Learning Environments – and the need for imagination and creativity

Education Readings
Introduction to readings
It would seem many schools are still locked into the assessment and associated documentation required by National Standards and as a result are dedicating too much of their time to literacy and numeracy – as important as they are. Bruce and I have long believed that the most important thing is to expose students to a rich thinking curriculum – a curriculum that integrates areas

of the curriculum as required. Nothing new in this. Elwyn Richardson in his wonderful book In theEarly World (available NZCER) written in the 60s saw his students as a community of artists and scientists exploring their environment and   their personal concerns. More recently Professor Peter O’Conner has expressed the need to develop programmes to develop student creativity (November 2018 NZPF Magazine) and quoted John Dewey, ‘the arts are tools by which we train the imagination…its only when we imagine that we can be better, that we can really change’.

Time now for some creativity and imagination in our schools.
Allan Alach
Bruce Hammond
Innovative Learning Environments – where’s the evidence?
In an open letter to Education Minister Chris Hipkins, parent Kia King outlines her concerns that there is no evidence to show that innovative learning environments can support enhanced teaching and learning.’
Innovative Learning Environments – here’s the evidence
Educational Consultant and Director of Leading Learning Mark Osborne responds to two big questions: Why is the design of classrooms changing? And how can we be sure that ‘innovative learning environments’ are actually leading to better teaching and learning?’
Inside an ‘Innovative Learning Environment – for and against
One of the great advantages touted is that ILEs create

collaborative teaching. Staff, from the same or different departments, must work together. They share the space. There are no walls, every move is under examination not only by their students but also by their peers. It’s the complete deprivatisation of practice. Proponents say that it allows weaker practitioners to learn from their stronger counterparts – to observe teaching techniques and behaviour management in action.’ Others have their doubts.

Tomorrow’s Schools Review: Winner vs Loser Schools!
Maurie Abrahams
One innovative principal’s view. ‘I have been emotionally shaken by what I heard about the willingness of some school leaders to adopt the position that everything is OK for us so leave it as it is! So much so that I carefully chose the discussion tables I went to so that I could avoid hearing this position being promoted. I failed!Yet, despite that experience I still feel optimistic. The generational shift occurring across many professions and institutions will not bypass education and school leadership.’ By Maurie Abrahams – Hobsonville Point School
What Makes a Good School Culture?
Most principals have an instinctive awareness that organizational culture is a key element of school success. They might say their school has a “good culture” when teachers are expressing a shared vision and students are succeeding — or that they need to “work on school culture” when several teachers resign or student discipline rates rise. But like many organizational leaders, principals may get stymied when they actually try to describe the elements that create a positive culture.’
Russell Bishop: Who’s to blame for Māori failures at school?
Russell Bishop
In 1998, I wrote a book Culture Counts, where I suggested that the most important thing teachers could do, before they could do the job of teaching, was to establish figurative whakapapa-type relationships with Māori students and their families. This would let the students and their families know that you were serious and in your classroom, Māori could succeed. That’s what was missing from the schools and the classrooms where Māori kids weren’t achieving at the level they should — a base of whanaungatanga.’
The Artistry of Teaching
There is one goal [of education] that, if not achieved, makes the

Seymour Saraon

achievement of all other goals very unlikely. That goal is to create those conditions that make students want to learn; not have to learn but want to learn more about self, others, and the world. The overarching purpose of schooling and its governance is to support that goal, i.e., to create and sustain contexts of productive learning supportive of the natural curiosity and wonder with which children start schooling.’ Seymour Sarason

Imagination, Inquiry, and Agency
Finish this sentence…“Imagine a place where students could…”Is that place your school? What would it take for that place to be a reality for your students? What do you think school could, and should be? That question is the focus of thousands of conversations in school communities today. It’s a sign of the concern, the angst, and for some even the desperation to better understand how we can more relevantly prepare our students for the rapidly changing modern world we all now live in.
Article: ‘If all of that testing had been improving us, we would have been the highest-achieving nation in the world.’ Here’s what does work in school reform
‘So what should this country be doing to improve public schools? For one thing, pay attention to the social and emotional needs of students so that they are prepared to tackle academic work at school, Darling-Hammond said. Darling-Hammond cited these policies in high-performing countries: Equitable resources to schools. Major investments in educator preparation and ongoing support Schools designed to support teacher and student learning. Equitable access to a rich, thinking curriculum. Performance assessments focused on higher order skills that are used to guide learning.’
5 reasons why data is a waste of everyone’s time
‘Why do we put so much focus on data? It’s unreliable, confuses pupils and teachers, and takes up far too much time, writes one teacher.’
Simple Tips for Boosting Teacher Resilience
‘Try these quick and easy ways to build resilience and relieve stress.’
Deconstructing “Scaffolding”
By Alfie Kohn
But as I’ve thought more carefully about scaffolding — and watched as it, like so many other promising terms, has been appropriated by non- and even anti-progressive educators – I’ve become increasingly skeptical. Here are some questions I think we might want to ask when the word is casually tossed around.’

A couple of Bruce’s Oldies
Transforming Secondary Education – the most difficult challenge of all. Thoughts from a past age – ‘Young Lives at Stake’ by Charity James
Charity James believed it was important to get secondary education right if all students were to leave able to take advantage of the exciting opportunities the future might offer.  The challenge remains. Secondary schools need a radical reappraisal to ameliorate the effects of obvious social and cultural disadvantages and also to develop the needs, talents and gifts of all students.’
‘A World of Difference’: the philosophy of a Taranaki pioneer creative teacher – Bill Guild
The ideas that Bill developed 1970- 1986 may be useful for today’s teachers and they return their focus to developing students creativity and imagination.’

Categories: Education