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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

The Impact of Brain Compatible Learning their time planning for use of available space and resources, bathroom breaks, filling of water bottles, learning centers within small rooms, etc. On the other hand, teachers in International-With-A-Facelift Elementary were able to give input into how the original facility could and should be modified to meet their instructional needs. Student learning was the primary target at International-With-A-Facelift. The teachers had training and expertise in BCL and embraced the theory. When it came time to make decisions about remodeling, they knew what they needed and wanted. They were given a voice in the remodeling process. They wanted International-With-A-Facelift to be compatible with their goals and beliefs about learning. Even though the majority of the teaching staff in Have-It- All Elementary had not studied the theory of BCL, the majority of teachers interviewed embraced the results of its application to the school’s design. Leadership and community support were the key factors in learning about the connection between BCL theory and its application at this facility. The school administrator had teachers learn how to work within the BCL building design. In the case of Have-It-All Elementary, the principal and community were instrumental in securing a school facility that would project the best researched design for their students. 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of Have-It-All Elementary’s existence as well as its principal’s tenure as school leader. Over the years she has had her teachers engage in book studies about learning and the BCL philosophy. Through her efforts, the school has become a center for learning and community celebrations. What Mattered Most? There are several factors that contributed to why each school site in this study has consistently demonstrated success in student performance, teacher retention, and an engaged learning community. Even though this particular study is limited to three elementary schools grounded in similar demographics and philosophy, the fact that all three sites recognized the importance of connecting environment and learning is what matters most. The school leader and in one case the surrounding school community (Have-It-All Elementary) persistently sought ways to provide a conducive learning environment for the students they served. Their efforts are noteworthy! As one teacher said, “It is important to both teachers and students to have happy brains! Just look what we all can do when we have a great place to teach and learn.” The following summarizes the themes that kept reappearing during the study at each school site. These are what mattered most in establishing a productive learning environment: 1. Each school site adopted and promoted a philosophy that focused on how the brain learns best, on what teachers and students need to be successful, and where learning and work spaces should be within a school facility. The BCL philosophy remained even when leadership changed over the years. 2. Each school site recognized the importance of creating a learning environment that supports the tenets of a particular learning philosophy. In this case all three schools constructed or reconstructed their facility to reflect a BCL philosophy. 3. Each school site had school leaders who supported and tenaciously encouraged the constructs of the BCL philosophy. Leadership was key in how predominant the philosophy was applied among teachers and within classrooms; and 4. The greater the incorporation of adequate spaces for learning, teaching, and collaboration, the greater the satisfaction seemed to be among students, teachers, and the community. December 2012 / ACEF 54


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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