Cultures of Thinking (CoT)
Environment: Purposeful Design to Support Student Learning and Thinking
Environment (noun): The surrounding conditions or influences in which a person operates. According to Ron Ritchhart (2015), the cultural force, the physical environment, is the "Body Language" of an organization. The environment conveys the values and influences interactions, behaviors and even performance. The physical environment can inspire the learner. Yet, often times in education, typical old paradigms of learning tend to consume our environment: desks in rows, teacher desks, cluttered walls, etc. While many educators inherit the physical space and furniture of their classroom, there is still much we can do to shape the learning space (p. 227).
Our Deerfield staff have been working diligently to rethink the various environmental factors which impact student learning. Intuitively, our teachers have always worked to build a learning space that is child centered and designed with specific learning goals in mind. Reading corners are colorful, relaxing, and encourage reading. These specific classroom designs do not occur without thoughtful planning. As this year progresses we are excited for the students and community to see how the staff will redefine some of the learning spaces. Some have already begun and some are just beginning to explore but, looking at the "environment" as a cultural force of student learning is something we all can do; even you at home.