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Technical report

"In the real world ..."Teachers' perceptions of ILEs: ILETC phase 1 teacher workshops

Primary education Secondary education Teachers Learning and teaching Australia New Zealand

A series of research-led workshops in Australia and New Zealand were developed to capture rich data of teachers’ lived experiences and their insights on teaching in innovative learning spaces, as revealed through reflective and speculative activities. The workshop format also provided a reciprocally useful experience for participants by structuring activities that provided insights into the experiences of others, enabled individual reflection and prompted further contemplation of problems and solutions through group discussion and rumination.

This technical report presents findings of the teacher workshops. The data obtained as described in this report has allowed findings that are distinctive and inform the project with useful information.

Key findings include:

Teachers define a learning environment that is innovative as one with adaptable spaces and ubiquitous resources and technologies, which can evolve and change to support transitions between different types of student-centred learning. Participants identified changing teacher practices through transforming teacher mindsets and resistance as a barrier to effective use of innovative learning spaces.

Teachers’ mind frames seemed to reflect their day-to-day practices. Key elements that supports teachers’ practices are flexibility of space to meet varying learning needs, the ability to use different teaching approaches regardless of the space, as well as the use of technology within the space.

Teachers’ perceive student deep learning as creativity, critical thinking, character, collaboration, citizenship, and teacher as learner. Elements of the physical environment that would enhance student deep learning include a variety of space, moveable furniture and fit outs, access to a range of tools and materials for hands-on activities to meet a range of teaching approaches.

Teachers transitioning into innovative spaces are concerned with configuration of the new space, the use of furniture in that space, and how students transition into the space. Two important considerations are the mindsets and lack of professional development for teachers.

Support required to enable teachers to undertake change in their practices include human resources, tools, equipment, resources, facilities and assets. Teachers noted the importance of the cycle of improvements to ensure that its direction-setting and resourcing processes, core activities of learning, its enabling systems and infrastructure are continuously monitored and improved.

This technical report constitutes an evidence-based platform to inform subsequent phases of the ILETC project. The integration of the qualitative data from the workshops together with quantitative data from Phase 1 survey (see Imms, Mahat, Byers and Murphy, 2017) and scholarly literature (forthcoming) provide a strong knowledge base that responds to the project’s initial assumptions surrounding the use of innovative learning environments in Australia and New Zealand.

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