Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Not right (angled)

One last insight from Leigh Technology Academy was this:
so many of the schools we have seen that are leaping forwards in ambition and performance have a certain "wow factor" when you walk in - it is part of the self esteem growth that you always see in the students. A big part of that  "wow factor" comes from an absence of what the US calls "cells and bells" - the ld boxes of the factory school era.

Not only are the tiny boxes missing (Leigh Technology Academy teaches a lot of classes in groups of 60 in big spaces, but with three or sometimes four adults present) but one feature that stands out is the complete lack of right angles! It seems like a small thing in design terms but the impression it gives is of a series of interlinking agile spaces that are a very long way from boxes.

And watching the teaching and learning that results, reading the research too, it clearly works. Not that we will do everything we see and hear - but all these ideas do help to inform our Portland choices.

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