Sunday, 11 October 2009


In designing learning spaces I talk a lot about Agility - and now many others do too. Agile learning spaces, usually multifaceted, allow the organisation of learning to respond rapidly to learners' needs and to their teacher's plans. I often describe such spaces as being like a stage - architecturally bland (and thus SO affordable) but able to rapidly offer a different vista of learning - Act 1 scene iv, Act 2 Scene i, Act 2 scene ii etc. People seem to understand this analogy.

But wandering through Brightlingsea at the start of Autumn I walked past pal Gary Constable's boatyard and reflected on the way that boatyards re-configure themselves seasonally. At this time space is at a premium as boats start to appear for winter refits and work, prior to formally laying up - by Spring it is all pre-season preparation and of course summer is space and time. Not only do each of these functions require a different space layout - for which the yard needs genuine agility, but each offers a different social environment too - folk this week were positively relishing the social chit chat of Autumn in the shed. No doubt many other physical spaces have traditionally been comfortably agile - it makes you wonder even more why we seem to have locked so many schools down into the constancy of cells and bells...

..and then seem surprised by the boredom and disengagement that results.

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