How To Involve Students In Building Learning Spaces?

Updated: Jul 29, 2021


The video about the Ein Hayam school in Haifa, Israel tells several stories at the same time -


A story of a successful educational initiative of integrating the game into learning - on which there is a lively academic discussion
A story of a theory that "wore skin and tendons" in Israeli reality
A story of values that came to fruition
A Story of Academic Success - Student Achievements Rise
A story about integrating more or less similar students ("the other is me") with great success ...

Additionally, this is a story about the joint work of teachers, students, and the community to build learning spaces, courtyards, and other social learning facilities.


I have seen many different schools over the years

In many cities and towns.


What is so special about this school?

Beyond the pedagogical approach that comes out of the game,

We found that:
There is a deep involvement of students in learning
Students are partners in building learning processes as well as learning spaces.

Yes, it is possible.



but,
Can anyone do it?

I searched for relevant research on student involvement.

In August 2008, Ayala Tzur submitted a Doctoral dissertation named:

"My ideal school:

Suggestions from Students and Principals of a Democratic and Traditional School Planning School "

You can read it here as a file - open to the public in pdf format with the approval of Dr. Ayala Tzur*.

*Attention- Any improper use of her work, without complying with the usual rules of ethics - is an offense.


An article appeared on this study in 2009-

A study conducted in Israel details how students see the future school,

And found differences between Democratic school students and regular school students.


This time I am interested in looking for and presenting one model (many kinds) that will allow access in a practical way

To students and involve them in planning their immediate environment.


In her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Ayala Tzur,

Supervised by Prof. Rivka Izikovich (University of Haifa) and the architect Dr. Aryeh Peled

Used a research tool that allowed students to design the learning environment. He developed the "Location Task" based on the principles of Eco-Analysis.


Students learned the tool and described using it, on a sheet of paper,

The ideal environment for them to learn.

They referred to the space in which they operate in terms of "human body image."

Such a diagnostic tool and discourse can completely change the way

our classes look like today.


Dr. Ayala Tzur criticizes the trend of not sharing with students - Tzafi Saar writes, "This method, which puts the students 'perceptions at the center of the investigation, can help the education system, which is not always attentive to the student's unique voice. She notes, for example, that the two principals' suggestions completely ignored the need for students to stay in places designated for gathering and social interaction, emphasizing how important it is to hear the voice of students. "The time has passed for the perception that young people are a population whose job it is to accept patterns of behavior dictated from above," states Tzur. "Today's young people strive to influence their environment, and the dialogue with them contributes both to the planning of the place and to the development of creative thinking and problem-solving skills."


Ayala Tzur's critique expresses her criticism over the top-down approach

"A population whose job it is to have patterns of behavior dictated from above,"


She offers these alternatives:
"dialogue"
"Developing creative thinking."
"Problem-solving skill"

And of course - from this arises the preference for the opposite approach - from bottom to top -

In her view - students are the ones who should be full partners in creating their learning environments.


Well,

That sounds very nice and ideal.


Why is this not happening?

(And here comes our list of excuses right away; however, the problem is that some correspond with the reality today)

1. Teachers lack the knowledge to lead such a move

2. The learning environment is perceived as "walls of contents, or another way to deliver content to students to memorize and repeat.

3. Top-down perception is common in our schools. It is almost impossible to resist. Primarily because its' very comfortable (just like those old slippers that I refuse to throw away)

4. Sometimes, teachers/principals are measured by the content on the walls (the content is their responsibility)

5. There is sometimes a belief that "the walls teach" from an approach in which knowledge is external to the knower

In the discussion, I invite here-

I would very much like to read your opinion,

You can raise additional inhibiting factors, ask questions that advance our understanding of the change needed.

Any change starts with a small step.

In the age of pedagogical flexibility - this can be a fantastic start to the school year.

As usual, I would love to get comments on these ideas here on the blog.


Good luck, 21st-century teachers.

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