Building a Future-Ready School

This article outlines how Board staff brought a vision to reality through consultation and research of new learning spaces. The result was impressive – a school that has been designed to inspire collaboration and innovation, built with the same size footprint and the same budget as previous schools. At St. Cecilia elementary, every part of the building is intentionally designed as an opportunity for learning. The hallways feature caves and pods with available technology and flexible furniture. Exposed building systems and elements are intended to create an interactive “museum-like” feature that connects to the curriculum. An outdoor classroom offers learning in a natural environment.

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21st Century Learning, 20th Century Classroom

Teaching and learning have changed and yet our school buildings, physical structures, classroom set-up and class design remain the same. It’s time we thought about how our physical space, schedules and classroom make-up support or constrain the type of learning taking place. The Enrichment and Innovation Centre, in Hamilton, Ont., is a demonstration project that connects educational ideologies (inquiry, design thinking, integrative thinking) to the learning environment itself. Educators seeking ways to enrich their own program through inquiry and project-based learning spaces are invited to visit the Centre.

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Building Capacity

The barriers that are encountered when new pedagogies bump up against traditional school structures can be both frustrating and disappointing. But new school builds and renovations, like those led by architectural firm Fielding Nair International, can increase the capacity of our physical structures to adequately hold new visions for education and enable educators to teach the way they aspire to teach. It’s no longer about creating a structure in relative isolation, hoping that teachers and students will be able to function effectively within it. Instead, the goal is to use current research to identify the specific teaching and learning practices that will support the highest aspirations we have for our children, and build a school that has the capacity to enable those practices.

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Dr. Kate Tilleczek: 2013 CEA Whitworth Award Winner
Teaching Out Loud (Episode 7) - Flipping the Classroom - Changing the Teacher-Learner Dynamic