Learning Spaces, Educational Challenges and Classroom Settings
Though classrooms can be conceived of as autonomous environments, the degree to which they are intertwined with external policy frameworks, social processes and associated activities can be under-appreciated.
In this book, Joachim Broecher explores the question of what can be learnt from a teacher’s journal about working with challenging youth groups. Focusing on the Training Room Program in German schools, Creating Learning Spaces, also seeks to inquire qualitatively into the factors that impede the development of an empowering learning culture. In addition to also presenting relevant quantitative data, Broecher’s wealth of qualitative observations, materials and transcripts attempt to capture the experiences that transpire during a train trip to the sea with an unruly crew of school boys. This mixed-method study also includes travelogue elements, especially in the chapter that sketches what happens when children plan a trip on their own. Based on his accumulated experiences in teaching, Broecher has incorporated creative, visual aspects into this monograph. Thus, this selection of educational case studies illustrates formative and inspirational moments from the author’s career as a teacher and father.
For this study, as the theoretical backdrop serve the previous studies that focus on fostering “caring teacher-student relationship (e.g., Cefai 2013; Cooper 2011; Garza 2009; Kniveton 2004), responding with sensitivity to the developmental needs of the students (e.g., Boorn et al., 2010; Boxall 2010; Colley 2009; Doyle 2003), tuning into the students’ life experiences and learning preferences (e.g., O’Connor et al., 2011), and [proposing] a teaching approach that also makes use of humor (e.g., Rogers 2013)” (Broecher, 2019, p. 12). Similarly, the study by Dipane Hlalele et al. (2015, p. 169) deploys case study methodology to explore student-level learning outcomes, community engagement practices and teacher-level leadership initiatives, in order to indicate that adaptive instructor practices can stimulated a shared sense of learning ownership.
Likewise, Terri Seddon (2016, p. 563) approaches the classroom environment as a space for conceptual orientation, in which policy imperatives, social norms and learning practices are transmitted to students. Thus, regardless of students’ age, education settings can become locations, in which structural contradictions and conflicts of social or economic interests, such as between globalization and sustainability, play out (Seddon, 2016, p. 563). Classrooms are, consequently, socially and historically entangled in their larger contexts, which also affects learning processes as diachronic and transdiscursive phenomena (Seddon, 2016, pp. 569-570). For this reason, Broecher’s (2019) study resorts to the detail-rich case study method, since it allows the delineation and mapping of the vernacular discourses that educators encounter in classroom and related settings.
This particularly applies to at-risk students that, on the one hand, may experience unique educational challenges, and, on the other hand, are likely to require the application of transformational pedagogical approaches that emphasize interpersonal trust and communication (Roberts, 2011, pp. viii-xi). Moreover, the inclusion of special need students into classroom environments can also demand their transformation into active learning spaces that places a premium on student engagement, future readiness and collaborative learning, such as through a focus on meaningful learning experiences with flexible in-person and online delivery options (Basye et al., 2012, p. 1).
Similar to a growing body of academic literature (Boys, 2011, p. 1), Broecher (2019) argues in favor of re-envisioning classrooms as learning spaces that are positioned at the intersection of theoretical, social and personal concerns. This approach can also increase their pedagogical effectiveness, as policy and conceptual assumptions about learning processes increasingly encompass associated social contexts, informal, non-formalized underpinnings and non-compulsory activities.
Published by Transcript Verlag in 2019, Creating Learning Spaces, authored by Joachim Broecher, has become available in Open Access at the Open Research Library in 2020, as part of the KU Select 2019: HSS Frontlist Books collection.
Broecher, Joachim. Creating Learning Spaces: Experiences from Educational Fields. 1st ed. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2019. Retrieved from https://openresearchlibrary.org.
Hlalele, Dipane, Desiree Manicom, Julia Preece, and Cias T. Tsotetsi. “Strategies and Outcomes of Involving University Students in Community Engagement: An Adaptive Leadership Perspective.” Journal of Higher Education in Africa / Revue De L’enseignement Supérieur En Afrique 13, no. 1-2 (2015): 169-192. Accessed November 17, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/jhigheducafri.13.1-2.169.
Seddon, Terri. “Sustainable Development and Social Learning: Re-contextualising the Space of Orientation.” International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift Für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale De L’Education 62, no. 5 (2016): 563-86. Accessed November 17, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44980048.
Roberts, Jay W.. Beyond Learning by Doing : Theoretical Currents in Experiential Education, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central.
Basye, Dale, et al. Get Active: Reimagining Learning Spaces for Student Success, International Society for Tech in Ed., 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central.
Boys, Jos. Towards Creative Learning Spaces: Re-Thinking the Architecture of Post-Compulsory Education, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central.
Featured Image Credits
Informal Self-Study Area, Library, City Campus West, Northumbria University, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK, October 17, 2006 | © Courtesy of Jisc infoNet/Flickr.