Turramurra High School
This case study showcases how this school has embraced and embedded future-focused learning and teaching practice. Four key questions are addressed to demonstrate how they identified problems and constraints, overcome specific challenges and their learnings from this journey.
Location: Maxwell St, South Turramurra
Level: Secondary School, Year 7 to Year 12
What learning problem were you trying to solve?
Turramurra High School was seeking opportunities to engage in team teaching in flexible learning spaces. Traditional classroom spaces were limiting and inflexible. After a series of professional learning experiences exploring alternative pedagogies, staff recognised the need for a learning space which could facilitate larger student groups engaged in a variety of student-centred learning experiences. Action research focused on innovative teaching and learning that recognises the importance of natural light and fresh air for adolescent learning resulted in the 'Inside Out' project. The purpose of the project was to design and create a purpose-built outdoor learning space engaging the principles of cave, campfire and waterhole learning spaces.
What were your constraints?
- Regular classrooms were limiting and dictated a traditional type of pedagogy.
- Funds to transform spaces indoors were limited.
- Selecting a space to transform indoors would raise issues of inequity of access between faculties.
What did you do?
The school executive team engaged in a future-focused learning project involving visits to other schools, action research, design thinking.
- Senior Executive engaged the P&C to partner in a project to design and develop an outdoor learning space.
- We explored connections in our local community to assist with the project including the local community bank, Turramurra Men's Shed, Turrmaurra Rotary Club and the local Community Garden group.
- We engaged student leaders in the design of the space and in fundraising towards the project. As a result, the entire $150,000 project was funded through
- a $75,000 interest free loan
- fundraising by students and their families
- subsidy from the P&C.
What have you learnt so far?
Student feedback indicates that the space has allowed for a variety of new learning experiences to occur within and between class groups. Students experience the space as stimulating and aesthetically pleasing. They comment on how it allows them to view learning differently because of the outdoor environment.
Teachers enjoy the flexibility of the space and the opportunity it creates for innovative pedagogy and student-centred learning. It also allows staff to work together on faculty based learning projects as well as project-based learning. Parents have also commented on the positive learning experiences that their children have had in the space.
The following video 'Education Inside Out at Turramurra High School' (4 mins 53 sec) follows the journey from dream to reality and shows the possibility of transforming traditional spaces for future-focused learning.