The University of Melbourne
Mahat & Loh_Teachers Spatial Competency.pdf (3.49 MB)

Developing teachers’ spatial competency: Professional learning in a Singapore context.

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posted on 2023-10-11, 01:55 authored by MARIAN MAHATMARIAN MAHAT, Chin Ee Loh

Significant investment in school infrastructure needs to be accompanied with effective professional learning and development of teachers to develop their spatial competency. These spatialised professional learning practices are critical for teachers to understand and use the affordances of flexible and agile design features that are increasingly being used in schools all over the world. Research has shown that this is a significant gap as schools and school systems focus on the school built without due consideration to the professional learning needs of teachers.

The collaborative project between the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne and the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University investigated the impact of a spatialised professional learning pilot program in one secondary school in Singapore. This study draws on an in-depth case study approach of the pedagogical and spatial practices of three teachers. Using quantitative and qualitative data from teacher and student surveys, observations and semi-structured interviews, this report provides critical perspectives on the impact of the professional learning program on their teaching practice, efficacy and mind frames.

In summary, the professional learning program helped teachers become more aware of how the physical space can shape the learning experiences of students. However, they also noted challenges, such as a lack of suitable classrooms and furniture, class size, and heavy curriculum, which restricts them from using the affordances of the physical space as part of their pedagogical practice.

The report concludes by discussing three practical implications for future practice: (1) the importance of providing a range of diverse furniture options in flexible and agile learning environments, (2) the inclusion of teacher and student voice in the design of learning spaces, and (3) the significance of future-focused spatialised professional learning and development practices. These provocations for future practice, while pertinent to the Singaporean context, can also be read with broader relevance to other educational systems and schools.


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