Within Article V: Organizational Transformation of the Visioning Document we recognize and value the role of the teacher.
V.b The teacher’s most important role is to be a designer of engaging experiences for students, supporting students in their work by incorporating more traditional roles as planner, presenter, instructor, and performer.
In what ways can we support teachers to design such engaging experiences for their students? If we focus on location, functionality, and inspiration, we can set our teachers up for successful design.
Focus on Location
Where do your teachers design learning experiences for their students? Is that space their own classroom? If so, in what ways are you supporting collaboration among teachers? Consider this…At the elementary level, if teachers are gathering in one another’s classrooms to design, is the furniture conducive to adults? If it is not comfortable, can your teachers focus on high quality design?
Is there a space in the school building in close proximity of the teachers’ classrooms that can be converted to design space? If you are on a large campus, consider multiple spaces so teachers can easily access the space and may be more likely to do so.
Focus on Functionality
What is the function of the design space? It would be best to serve only for design so that it is always available and not cluttered with irrelevant materials.
Is the space free from distractions? Be sure doors can be closed and there is not a constant stream of staff/students passing through.
Does it have what teachers need to design such as power outlets, desk/table space, and storage? Is there a printer/copier/paper cutter so teachers do not have to leave to complete tasks for design?
Focus on Inspiration
Though the most inspiring work environments seem out of reach, it is possible to provide inspiration on a minimal budget. Provide wall space for teachers to post student work samples and celebrations. Invite teachers to contribute to design decisions such as wall color and furniture layout.
Don’t overlook the power of lighting. Can natural light or lamps be used instead of florescent lighting?
This space at Coppell Middle School West has ample wall space for teachers to post calendars so big picture planning can occur across the content and grade levels. There is also plenty of seating for large teams of teachers to gather.
Is your teachers’ design space in a quality location? Is it functional? Is it inspiring? I challenge you to demonstrate how you value learning design by providing your teachers with a awesome design space!