1. It’s so true! I tried at the end of the last school year to find a teacher who would like to experiment with this approach for this coming year. No success! When asking questions as to why not, I received answers from just flat out ‘no’ to ‘it takes time away from teaching’. If I had my own classroom, I would jump at the opportunity to have students set up their learning environment: from wall decorations to creating learning spaces. What an opportunity to really get to know your students and how they think. What an opportunity to incorporate all the C’s everyone is talking about in education: creativity, collaboration, communication, critical problem solving, as well as curiosity and culture! The way I see it is that students would be vested and happy to enter in their ‘own’ learning space everyday. I hope at least the seed was planted for some teachers to consider it for the future!

  2. Spiri Howard

    I love this George! In our cyber teaching world, I have a webpage where learners can send in pics of what they did over summer break, or what they would like to share with our class, their passions, interest, expertise, etc. It helps us to connect with each other and allows us to gain such perspective from our classmates. They are encouraged to contribute on a daily basis, …which they love to do…and I remind them that they have a genius that should be shared w/the world…starting first with our class. Our greatest resource is our learners passion and talent. I believe, if they know something, can do something, can create something…its our moral obligation to share it w/others and the world. Thanks again George! Hope all is well 🙂

  3. Dylan Smith

    Really enjoyed this posting, George, and sit in complete agreement. I suppose it’s always a two-way street that ensures a healthy tilt to students. Here’s something I like to do as one of my first-day activities….
    In turn, I display 8-9 prints of arts masters through history, sharing details of the artist’s life and work — including not-so-happy-or-flattering details. Students learn they are going to choose their top 5 to hang in the room, and are given at least 6 small, round, different-coloured stickers. I then ask that they get out of their seats, place the red sticker below their favourite print, and use the others as they please to vote for their preferred print(s). The next day, their top prints are hanging in the room, and we discuss the vote results. There are always many untold positive outcomes to this enriching evaluation, and the activity nicely introduces the Eminence unit that I always begin the year with. But a key message is: You have a voice in your classroom community and I intend to listen.

  4. Marilyn Stork

    What???!!!! Throw out the Argus posters with all the cute (trite) sayings that encourage cooperation, positive attitudes, hard work, and being on time? How will students learn those desirable traits and behaviors? How will they know what teachers expect?

  5. George, it’s so important for students to “own” the room where they will be spending a year learning. I wish all students felt connected to their learning environment. I am a retired principal and I always appreciated those teachers who included their students in designing the learning space and changing it when the design no longer works. Students needs change throughout the year. So the learning environment should match their needs and wants. Thanks for this important post.

  6. It is an important discussion for the teachers to make classroom invitonment lively. I think using this appriach, students may be engaged in meaningful learning activities throughout the academic year. And this is how students’learning can be maximised through investing teachers’ effective efforts to motivate students and resting responsibility on part of students. However, allocating personal spaces may create a sense of competition among students which leads lack of cooperation long them. Spaces may be allocated to students in groups in classroom for decorations.

  7. George Sirrakos

    Thank you for reading the article and sharing it on your blog. Here’s to another great year!

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