Learning in my Placement

(Student ID: 201122240)

This section will discuss the learning environment by critically analysing two papers relating the ideas discussed back to School A and how they utilised spaces.

The environment education takes place in can support or hinder a student’s education. If students are not comfortable in a setting, then they may not be able to concentrate and hence will not be able to learn properly. The conceptualisation of an environment, as suggested by Lefebvre’s theory, is important in helping students understand its use and form a connection with it (Chappell and Craft, 2011). For example, a specific classroom may be associated with maths due to mathematics lessons taking place in that classroom all year. If the mathematics lesson gets moved to a room which students associated with art, then the concentration and learning may decrease. Forming a relationship with settings can help students concentrate but, a change in the setting may harm the student’s concentration as well. Jamieson et. al. (2000) and Bryant et. al. (2009) discuss different learning environments in an attempt to understand the impact it can have on an individual’s education.

Jamieson et., al. (2000) focused their research on Australian Universities to understand the impact different types of learning environments and resources. Jamieson et., al. (2000) stated that the environment shapes the teaching, as a better suited setting would result in better teaching and learning. They discussed the importance of developing settings to support student learning rather than adapting teaching within an environment. This technique is evidenced in School A as a change from the old building to the new building in 2016 saw a better suited, open, and bright environment created for students to study in, the below video helps display this.

*This video and the images used was created and taken by myself*

While the research conclusions from this study are valid, the research is regarding university learning and teaching which can differ to the education taking place in a secondary school environment like School A (Jamieson et. al., 2000). Additionally, the research study was conducted in Australia, a country with a different curriculum and education objectives. Thus, while the research can be adapted to help understand secondary education, the setting is both different and far from that of the UK.

Bryant et., al. (2009) discuss the use of an area in Loughborough University called Open, which is used for multiple purposes. Using one space for many reasons can help utilise the space but it can also makes it harder to study independently. Bryant et. al. (2009) saw students getting distracted by students who were socialising, but due to the nature of the environment, they were unable to complain. While students who want to study independently or socialise have the option to move to a better suited setting, this is not always available on a university campus. School A also has an open area like Loughborough University which is used for socialising during break and lunch, and for teaching during lesson time. Allocating different times for different activities, like School A have done, may help utilise the space better without it affecting student’s studies.

This study was also conducted in a University where the education varies from secondary education. The study was conducted in one environment as it was a case study, but if the same research is conducted in many different universities and education environments like public libraries, collages, and school, then the results from that research may help understand if open-space learning is suitable for students, or not. Furthermore, Bryant et. al. only observed the students so the research is based on opinion and assumption limiting the reliability of the results.

Both articles discussed are regrading university spaces and both consider the environment in relation to education. While Jamieson et., al. (2000) discusses adapting the environment to suite education, Bryant et. al., (2009) considers the use of one environment for different activities. Both research articles can be used to support the learning environments in School A as all classrooms in School A are designed to ensure suitability for specific subjects. Classrooms that play host to Mathematics all have the same mathematics displays to ensure students are able to feel comfortable in any rooms. School A also have open-spaces on each floor to support teaching and learning. Students seem to appreciate this set-up and their education does not seem to be hindered by it. In fact, learning in open spaces has allowed students to feel free and ensure deepened concentration as they are not confined within four walls.

To conclude, as discussed by Chappell and Craft (2011), the relationship a student builds with an environment is important to ensure the student is able to work and the teacher teach. If the environment is not suitable for learning, as shown by Bryant et., al (2009), the education in that environment may not be as efficient. Therefore, the environment is just as important as the teaching and learning can be supported more appropriately if conducted within a better suited setting, something seen in School A.

Annotated Bibliography

Learning in Different Environments

Bryant, J. Matthews, G. and Walton, G. 2009. Academic libraries and social and learning space: A case study of Loughborough University Library, UK. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. 41(1), pp 7-18

This article also discussed an environment in a university space, but this study supported my understanding of open space learning which I witnessed at my placement. This study discussed the use of an open space in a library to help understand how different student perceived it. One space was used for group work, independent work and socialising yet the organisation of the space seemed to be perceived as positive from the student observed. While it was harder to study independently, the area encouraged collaborative work, a theme strongly believed in School A.

Chappell, K. and Craft, A. 2011. Creative learning conversations: producing living dialogic spaces. Educational Research, 53(3), pp.363-385

This article focused on the development and understanding of creativity in learning and teaching through discussions with different group of students and staff from the Aspire programme and the Dance Partners for Creativity programme. Lefebvre’s idea of the representation of a learning environment was discussed alongside the idea’s students hold about creative learning and teaching. This article supported my understanding of ensuring the child is at the centre of education making sure the environment is suitable for them to ensure maximum learning. Learning about Lefebvre’s theory also helped me understand the importance of the relationship between an environment and the learning or teaching that needs to take place.

Jamieson, P., Fisher, K., Gilding, T., Taylor, P. G., and Trevitt, A. C. F. 2000. Place and Space in the Design of New Learning Environments. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(2), pp.221-236

Although this article was regarding University environments rather than school environment, the ideas discussed are still relevant. The discussion is heavily influenced by a comparison between online learning and learning in person. Online learning is seen as inferiors to in person learning due to the miscommunication, difficulties of technology and any distractions that may occur in the physical location. The design of different environments was also discussed suggesting that the learning space should be designed for multiple uses with the environment being ergonomically designed to ensure flexibility for all students and subjects. This article helped me understand how different learning environments may help or hinder the learning process and the necessity of ensuring the environment is suitable for the group and for the topic being taught.

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