An international school in China sought to transform a floor in their primary school to serve as a pilot for 21st century learning. Research in education shows that student learning is improved when teachers collaborate on a regular basis. Based on this premise, the floor was completely reconfigured to foster a collaborative approach to teaching. Architecture is used to communicate pedagogy and shapes how people are organized. Instead of teachers owning their own isolated classrooms, they share the learning spaces and work collaboratively. Physical space, therefore, becomes a catalyst for innovative teaching and learning practices.
The shared learning spaces flow from discrete to communal to communal discrete. Flexible openings and transparency allow for a wide range of learning activities to take place in a seamless fashion. Clear sightlines and transparency throughout the varied spaces allow the teachers to monitor and facilitate learning. This new spatial reconfiguration forms a Learning Community that facilitates 21st century learning.