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About the Project

About the Project

CoReD - Collaborative ReDesign with Schools - "Getting together to change school space".

Well-designed spaces are important to education

Research shows that well-designed learning spaces can:

  • impact on learners' wellbeing, engagement and attainment
  • provide pivotal support for school-level change

Raising educators’ awareness of school space is beneficial. This enables them to adjust their setting or practices. We need education professionals to appreciate the impact of school space. They should be supported to contribute to discussions and change in an informed way. If new or redesigned school premises are to be successful, the input of educators is key.

School users' contributions can include:

  • evaluating their own classroom or school space
  • changing local space and practice
  • engaging with national policy agendas relevant to school premises

The overarching aim of the project

We aim to undertake activities and develop resources that will increase understanding of educational environments. This will benefit education professionals within their own contexts and influence local and national debates and policy.

Project activities and outputs will support teachers and school leaders to engage more with their learning environment. Educators will be empowered in decision making about facilities, material resources and digital provision.

CoReD researchers use general approaches and specific methods to develop learning environments. They work with:

  • teachers
  • school leaders
  • students

The aim now is to develop internationally trialled tools/resources, which:

  • can be used by the teaching profession
  • are freely-available, stand-alone tools
  • do not need to be implemented or analysed by university researchers

Collaboratively produced resources will be trialled across six diverse European countries.

These will include:

  • tools
  • case studies
  • practitioner guides

Resources will be translated into the project partner languages:

  • English
  • Danish
  • Swedish
  • Icelandic
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • German

We will drive improvements in education by supporting school communities to understand the significance of the learning environment. This will enable them to undertake informed change.

Project objectives

By the end of the project, we will have created user-friendly tools and resources that:

  • help evaluate the current school learning environment. and determine how it supports/impedes learning and teaching.
  • help determine the changes necessary to support teachers' current practices more effectively
  • help develop more innovative and inclusive learning and teaching experiences for their pupils

Case studies will chart the journey and experiences of practitioners. They will document practitioners in diverse settings, as they use the tools to explore and understand their school learning environments.

Practitioner guides will identify the processes and tools required to undertake school redesign from a range of starting points. These will be structured around the heuristic of ‘four principles to facilitating collaborative engagement about school space’ (see below).

Our resources will be developed collaboratively and iteratively by university partners and education practitioners. We will also share and disseminate resources via a range of social media.

The four principles to facilitating collaborative engagement about school space*

We represent a range of disciplines in universities across six countries. We have supported many schools in the development of their learning environments.

Experience has taught us that to create maximum impact, the following principles are critical in the design/redesign process:

  • Start where people are mentally (values, pedagogy) and physically (spaces).
  • Understand the intertwining of the physical, organisational and social aspects of the school environment.
  • Facilitate the exploration of ideas and possibilities.
  • Appreciate the complex lengthy process that is change.

All our tools, resources and guidance are being designed to enable practitioners to follow these principles.

*Woolner, P. (2018) Collaborative Re-design: Working with School Communities to Understand and Improve their Learning Environments. In: Ellis, RA; Goodyear, P, ed. Spaces of teaching and learning: Integrating perspectives on research and practice. Singapore: Springer.

The CoReD team at Newcastle University
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