Date
17 June 2019

Design for flexible use of space

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Designing and configuring flexible learning spaces to support the full participation and engagement of all students’

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Design adaptable spaces

Design adaptable spaces

Design spaces that support flexible teaching approaches that meet the sensory, mobility, learning, and cultural needs of all students.

Expand the hotspots on the High School Classroom simulator.

Enable student choice

Enable student choice

Students at Halswell School describe how they use different spaces and why they choose to work in them.

Caves, watering holes, and campfires

Caves, watering holes, and campfires

Stephen Collis describes physical and virtual spaces, which provide flexibility. Students can re-arrange them to meet their needs.

Using larger spaces

Using larger spaces

Larger, open learning spaces provide the flexibility to work in different groupings.

  • Students can learn collectively and can easily come together in larger groups for activities such as kapa haka and waiata.
  • Open learning spaces support tuakana-teina relationships between students and teachers.
  • Students can work in separate spaces that are quiet and have low stimulus.
  • Multiple groupings within open learning spaces support different teacher locations within the room and increase discursive teaching practice, which is linked to higher Māori student achievement.
  • Orient spaces to receive good sunlight – natural light is linked to increased student achievement and Tamanui-te-rā (the sun) is important in the whakapapa of Māori culture.

Source: Māui whakakau, kura whakakau: Teaching and learning environments to support priority learners (opens in a new tab/window)

Design outside spaces

Design outside spaces

Create visual and tactile landmarks to support student orientation when working and moving in and around outdoor spaces.

In your design, consider:

  • coloured or tactile pathways for moving between buildings
  • sculptures or cultural artifacts to act as keys to locations and spatial mapping of areas
  • safe spaces where students can seek support from a peer or an adult
  • using clear, high contrasting signage to identify buildings
  • naming and attaching visuals to buildings, so that students can easily identify spaces.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

W.S.C. – Becoming a 'new' school

Publisher: Western Springs College

Visit website

File

Flexible learning spaces: How the design of spaces can help student achievement

Read time: 3 min

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Download PDF

The impact of physical design on student outcomes

The impact of physical design on student outcomes

Read time: 94 min

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Design for all from the outset”:

Return to the guide “Planning innovative learning environments (ILEs)”

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