Flexible spaces refers to the ability to change the arrangement of furniture and the layout of space to best suit the particular learning activities and pedagogical approach being used. It is less about whether you are in a traditional single cell classroom or open plan learning environment but rather the ability to change the space to suit needs.
Physical spaces can be important in terms of student and teacher behaviour and mindsets, but they are not all-important. What is most important is teachers’ ability to understand and effectively use physical space and environmental affordances to their pedagogical advantage.
There is a growing body of evidence to support the importance of flexibility of space for learning. This research tends to be quite disparate, focusing on a range of different aspects of space such as seating arrangements, moveable furniture, the use of specialist spaces, and the use of break-out spaces for different types of activities. The research does strongly suggest that having flexible space does not in and of itself lead to improved learning or changed practice, but rather it is how the space is used that determines the impact.
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