As I’ve been thinking more about my #OneWordX12 goal for time and space, I knew that I needed to make some changes to my home learning space to make this possible. I embrace the thinking of The Environment As The Third Teacher, but talking more with my teaching partner, Paula, I’ve come to realize that this is not just true for student learning, but also for adults. Our space defines us and it allows learning to happen.
I used to facilitate our online meetings at my desk down in the basement. My dogs won’t come downstairs, so I knew that this space would be devoid of extra noise (i.e., barking) and interruptions (i.e., requests to go outside and receive a doggy treat). The desk met my need for a space to spread out and a comfortable chair to sit in, but it’s not conducive to play.
- I’m trapped beside a printer.
- I can’t angle my computer for children to see what’s happening beside me.
- I’m left feeling the need to only watch and speak about what others are doing.
My desk is also a mess. Like a complete disaster. I would share a photograph, but it’s too embarrassing to do so. This just reminds me of why I don’t like having a desk in the classroom: it’s the perfect dumping ground.
If I really want to be quieter, observe and listen more, and give kids the wait time that they need to get immersed in play, I also need a space that quiets my brain. This is my second time teaching with Paula online, and she has a knack for creating the best learning environments. To inspire our students to think more about their environments, Paula shared a video and some photographs in our MS Team this week.
Her video from the Spring lockdown offers a great comparison.
After a week of thinking, I told Paula on Friday that I was going to re-create my remote teaching space. I still wanted to be in the basement, and since this area is used for storage, I have a smaller area to navigate. But I thought that if I could also incorporate some play components, I might be able to connect more with our kids as they play online. Then instead of talking, I could be doing, which might also change the amount of time and space I give for them to create. Thinking about Lisa Noble, and her thoughts around #visiblelearning, I made a short video yesterday sharing my thinking around this evolving space.
I’m curious if a change in environment also changes what I say and do. How does your learning environment impact on your choices and actions? I wonder if we can all learn a bit more from each other.