While schools across the country continue to utilise enclosed classrooms and solo-teaching classroom models, a very different kind of learning space has taken shape at the Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing). Created in collaboration with award-winning education space design architects from Fielding Nair International (FNI), YCIS Beijing’s new learning spaces are designed to facilitate interactive learning, inculcate a wide variety of “soft skills” in students and most importantly, allow our unique curriculum to be employed more effectively than ever before.
Innovative Spaces to Accommodate Student-Centred Learning
The key concept behind the learning community is in its name: community. What the space is really about is creating a community for learners and teachers that allows them to come together. It is implemented in two primary ways, through flexibility and variety. The spaces within our Learning Community are flexible enough to allow for different modes of learning to take place simultaneously while the variety of spaces facilitate different teaching styles.
The flexibility of the spaces along with YCIS Beijing’s groundbreaking teaching techniques and technology integration accommodates each child’s different learning style and helps students achieve better academic results. This differs substantially from a traditional classroom model, which features a carbon copy of the same kinds of spaces over and over: identically-sized learning spaces lined along a corridor.
Enhancing Collaborative Teaching
Collaborative teaching has always existed at YCIS Beijing in the form of its unique Co-Teaching model. In the Learning Community, collaboration is built upon this existing model utilising not just the Co-Teachers but all teachers in the year level, including EAL specialists. The Learning Community allows teachers to base lessons on students’ needs and the vision of the learning objectives instead of just language acquisition.
For teachers, the flexibility and variety of learning space not only diversifies their teaching modes and lesson planning options, but also gives them valuable opportunities for professional growth. The access to different educators in action is the greatest benefit for both students and teachers. Collaboration facilitates the exchange of insights into either the lesson objectives or students’ needs. Through observation and support, teaching is enhanced and students are able to learn in an even more effective way.
The video below introduces the Year 3 Learning Community model and its key concepts.