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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

The Impact of Brain Compatible Learning definite impact on faculty, students, and community attitudes. At Have-It-All Elementary, one researcher said, “I was greeted with hugs every time I entered the building and offered a tour by more than one student. Faculty and students alike view the facility as their home away from home and the reception room as their living room.” Several teachers and parent volunteers indicated that the school helped create a more positive perception of the surrounding community which had been neglected and in disrepair for decades. Parent school volunteers and some of the teachers interviewed attributed the revitalization of the neighborhood to be due in part to the community link with the school. Pride in the school was a prevalent theme during informal conversations, formal interviews, and classroom observations. The fact that new housing development has occurred during the last eight years in this most impoverished area of town is a testimony to how a school facility can impact a community. Teachers interviewed at International-With-A-Facelift attribute the success of their school in part to professional freedom rather than the remodeled school facility. According to the school principal, teachers are allowed flexibility within the classroom to utilize resources and spaces to fit lesson goals and student learning. It was her belief that flexibility in how resources and space is utilized supports good instruction. One teacher stated, “Being flexible with time and instruction allows connections to be made with our kids. Some of our best lessons have come out of discussions and having the flexibility to go on and try things even if it’s not science time or math time.” Another teacher expressed his gratitude for the freedom he’s allowed to teach in his own style. This individual stated, “I am not just allowed to do this. I’ve been encouraged to do this!” A 3rd grade teacher stated, “There are so many teaching styles in our school. So many schools are so TAKS Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills oriented that you can go into several classrooms and they’re teaching the same thing. It’s like a factory assembly line! Do this first then this next . . . ! I believe we meet student needs when that happens. The freedom we have here allows us to focus on what our students need. It becomes more personal.” These teachers brag that TAKS scores have steadily increased since BCL was introduced in 2001. As one 4th grade teacher said, “I believe we are meeting campus and district goals in new and innovative ways. Our success with TAKS is because we are using a variety of resources with our students.” At Over-The-Hill Elementary, none of the teachers directly addressed this question. During group interviews, teachers said the school facility was one they had to “work with” not “work in”. The remodeling that was occurring over the years was primarily done to accommodate the change from being a Pre-K–2nd grade facility to a Pre-K–5th grade facility. Incorporation of the BCL philosophy was a goal of the campus leadership and not fully infused within the teaching staff. The dedication of its teachers and staff were viewed to be the strength of Over-The-Hill Elementary, not the facility. 3. What is your opinion regarding how facility designs and space affect learning? Teachers at Have-It-All Elementary reported they have their students use the surrounding artwork (murals, paintings, etc.) in the halls and on the walls to enhance student-learning experiences. The three-dimensional artwork in the school environment is used daily for creating many active hands-on learning experiences by both teachers and students. The difference in the design of Have-It-All Elementary in comparison to other elementary school facilities is that the facility design is credited for supporting a positive attitude in staff and students alike. One teacher said, “It facility design creates a sense of, ownership among our students.” Another December 2012 / ACEF 50


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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