Primary and secondary students at Moriah College in Sydney are experiencing new and exciting learning opportunities in the form of the School’s new flexible learning spaces.
A flexible space gives students more choice as to where and how they want to learn. Typically, the room is divided into zones, each one providing a unique opportunity to work either independently or within small or large groups.
The new Primary School classrooms feature colourful furniture, tables with whiteboard surfaces and giant Jenga, while at the High School, S-shaped and circular desks and comfortable seating can be rearranged to encourage collaboration.
As well as being an uplifting and engaging environment for its students, Moriah College believes there are many academic benefits to these open classrooms, and advocates of flexible learning spaces cite marked increases in students’ academic performance in subjects where there’s been a change in the layout of the space.
A range of seating options are available such as chairs, beanbags, ottomans and tall stools. Students also have the option to stand and use the classroom’s whiteboards or move desks and other furniture around to suit the activity they are doing and their own personal learning style.
These spaces help children to work collaboratively and to communicate with each other in a diverse and engaging environment. In the Primary School, two Year 6 classrooms have been divided by a moveable wall, which can be concertinaed to provide one large open workspace, flexible enough to encourage multiple groups of students to work together on a range of innovative projects. This is proving to be very successful in different areas of the curriculum.
“Students are actually willing to choose areas where they want to work that will help them to learn, rather than just sitting beside their friends,” said Alison Cramp, Head of Differentiated Learning K-6. “They make those responsible decisions to move to an area that they work best in depending on the current task.”
As well as encouraging autonomy, these classrooms have also changed the approach of the School’s teachers. “I’m actually sitting amongst the children now. I see their work in progress as opposed to just seeing the finished product,” said Maths Teacher, Jessica Aronstan. “The children are doing so well. The transition has been absolutely effortless.”
According to Director of Hebrew K-6, Debbie Conn, “The big advantage is being able to cater for the needs of every student in the class. What their flexible learning environment allows us to do is to work on the potential of each and every student.”