Saturday, 1 September 2018

Innovative learning spaces and teacher/student outcomes

I went to a session last week on ILEs and the outcomes they have on learning. These are my notes from that. 

Learning environments for stressed communities

Dr Kathleen Liberty

Focus on elements of design that calm the school and improve learning by reducing environment with stress.
Link to the research article Behavior Problems and Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms in Children Beginning School: A Comparison of Pre- and Post-Earthquake Groups

First studies descriptive, saying what was happening. More children presenting with stress after earthquakes.
No successful strategies apart from providing mental health one to one.
So many children affected. 70% symptoms of ptsd.

Behaviourism model.
Behaviour is controlled by here and now. Very simplistic. Come much further since then. Now learned that experiences in infancy are expressed much later. Risk factors can influence behaviour and learning. Not just here and now.
Adverse experiences in childhood. Good Wikipedia article.
Abuse , violence etc. More you accumulate the more likely you are to get cancer, mental health. It's how many you have, not just one experience. These experiences change our biology. Changes our DNA and can be passed onto our children.
Adverse experiences in children change brain development. If they experience 10000 earthquakes then they are flooded with these hormones. Not like adults who can say it's just another, I'm safe.
All in study were under 42 months at time of earth quakes
Affect their ability to understand and learn.
Can see differences in ages due to brain development at the time.
Not just earthquakes.
Ptsd 3rd highest rate in NZ. Most likely domestic violence.

Characteristics of stressed children. Can see behaviours in adults as well. Children have difficulty and have negative thoughts about others and themselves. Too hard, leave me alone, don't want to. Emotions are disconnected sometimes. Used to be an anxiety disorder now ptsd.
Different characteristics for young children.
Evidence of stressed children in NZ showed an increase in mental health referrals, increase in psychiatric medication, increase in bullying and absenteeism and an increase in teacher burnout and dissatisfaction.
5yr old being stood down
Absenteeism. Withdrawing is a sign of ptsd.
Not just confined to Christchurch.
Having a parent go to prison, being in an accident, having a parent die.
Schools have a duty of care. Well aware of what is happening.
Schools are not mental health clinics. Provide for learning.
Students are afraid of new things and think they will fail. For some people it is more stress.
Adhd, dyslexia etc all related to childhood.
Other children can cause stress. Need to provide an environment for children to learn

Symptoms should go down.
Why did they increase? Either accumulated more stress or they have delayed onset, go into shock then see symptoms.
28% had high and stable above ptsd cut off.
Tired of documenting children getting worse.
Low and stable no symptoms
We had years, not just one event like the hurricanes

Effects 60% reduced stress when changed the school environment.
One school refused to do the strategies and got more increase in symptoms.
Best adoption for 65% increase in no symptoms. No adoption 41%increase in ptsd.

Strategy 1: Recess first, play eat learn
Benefit through this.
Children eat more which improves health and concentration.
Morning tea then play. Didn't eat so they could get out quickly. Huge food wastage, didn't drink.
Play first, then come in wash hands, come in and sit and eat and drink and eat all of the food. Much more alert and able to take on information.
One school saw effect within one week. Shared mealtimes.
Reduces body weight as well.
If distracted, don't need a run around, they need food and water.
Learning 9-11.30
Worst time after breaks and end of school day
Provide additional food

Importance of shared meal times
Most schools design for playground not for eating.
Preparation of food. Hand washing. Disposal of food

Strategy 2: Address dehydration
Affects growth, reduced cognition affects memory
Drink when you feel tired, confused, upset
Helps mental performance and ability
Lots of studies
If they are dehydrated, they will be irritable, tired. less able to concentrate, little energy

Many symptoms overlapped with symptoms of dehydration
Many have limited access to water at school
Afraid of drinking fountains
Quality of water poor

Teachers to model drinking for the students
Thought they might have more children gong to the toilet, only 1 school had an increased use. Shows how dehydrated they were. Most drank the bottle straight away.
Principal had a rule that the student had to have a glass of water before they saw her.
What is the access to water in your kura?
Where can they wash the lid?
Use of water fountains?

Strategy 3: Lighting
Lighting reduces hospital stay length
Stress affects attention in dim light.
Need 1000 lux to learn
More than half the observations most were around 300lux
How do we fix this? Open curtains, turn on lights, desk close to window if needed.
School designs need higher levels of lighting

Strategy 4: Room colour
Stressed children are over stimulated
Turn devices to night light setting, get rid of blue.
Schools had lots of things because they needed stimulation. Now need to go back in colour and decor. Can distract from tasks.
Pops of red and orange, be more aggressive
Cram with things and colours. Distracts attention
Don't paint walls. Take down hanging decorations.
Affirmations are fine at children's eye level and below, not lifting head and losing track
Decorations on windows block the light

Strategy 5: Noise reduction
Room noise was a real problem, in both normal classrooms and ILEs
Huge problem of noise, learn to be quiet.
Wanted staff to use App to monitor
Even 5db reduction can make a difference in beginning reading
ILE in Sydney. Decibel range at 45
Learning can occur in a calm environment. If teachers have to shout or students are stressed then it is not as good.
Their research cannot say ILEs are bad.

Place for classes to have pets
Any wilderness spots onsite. Nature
Sensory system responds to environment
Environments sustainable in looking over change in future, children who come to schools in 2025
Data relevant to new environments.
Can't say the change in environment has changed anything for the children.
School that had no change of improvement is a single cell high decile school.
Similar pattern over schools. Some things we believe can't relate to ILE or trad learning environment

Emerging findings from ILETC research project: Innovative learning environment and teacher change Chris Bradbeer @chrisbradbeer

This room at the moment is at 55dB
Low sounds, can take away those needed and make learning difficult.
Reggio very much about natural materials and natural finishes.
What does learning look like now and what might it look like in the future? What space best offers the conditions to hold that learning? 
Life long learning and dispositions.
Relationship between pedagogy and space.
Shift saying , in a school context, space has been largely ignored. Single cells sound like prison, trad classroom. How do students feel being locked in a classroom having to stay in one place?
What is relationship between learning outcomes and space. Is it working? Working for what?
Relationships between computers and learning outcomes, natural new teaching pedagogy.
Quality design environments, quality learning pedagogy giving quality learning outcomes.

Lots of money being spent on new buildings.
Need for evidence. My child is not a guinea pig article
They don't often ask "Was a classroom with 1 teacher and 30 students good for a child?".

Can changing how teachers think about space change how they use the space.
Can altering teacher mind frames unlock the potential of learning environments?

Smart green schools, future proofing schools, e21le, ILETC focus now on teachers
Lots of people working on the project and partnerships including MOE this one has 15 partners

Assumed there were some common understanding in how they were designed and used.
Assumed teachers were not using well
Key concepts:
Learning space, teacher mind frames, students do learning, teaching approaches

ILE =innovative space designs +innovative teaching and learning practices

Doesn't become innovative until the stuff going on in there changes
From "Type and Use of ILEs in Australasian schools"
Teachers and learners need to be innovative in it.
What physical facilities do schools actually have?
Dovey and Fsher. Study on learning environments

This picture the starting point.
Then teaching approaches as well. 
What is preventative is type a, type b
Are they teacher centric, or more group or more student based.
Did a survey of Principals
Typical school 70%type a and b spaces and predominantly doing teacher Led approaches
Mind frames positive but not deep learning outcomes

Teacher mind frames - Hattie
I am evaluating my impact as a teacher
Need to do all the time

Student deep learning
What is it, shallow is facts and figures.
Dispositions are deep. Aims  for character, building capacity. Innately harder to measure.
7cs, character, citizenship etc
If we want deep learning then what is the exam doing? What's the stuff that is worth learning?

Teacher's mindsets define practice
What causes them not to change?
Confirmed assumptions
Real need for simplifying language
Huge lack of evidence. They are new but the thinking behind them is not new.
Schools seemed to have common pathway when they started to transition. Key ideas. Different strategies that supported teachers but lots of gaps in tools to help. Very individualised.
Need to trial and test. 
Fact sheets and technical stuff on the website. Lots of publications.
Subscribe to newsletter. Looking for schools
Learning to use the space is really important.
Equity and square meter age.
Global square metered, entitlement yr 8 in Germany, yr 5 in Australia. How much space does a child need?
Research coming out soon.

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