For twenty-five years I have been called a classroom teacher. I have been proud of that title. When people ask me what I do I tell them I am a teacher, a classroom teacher. Today I quit. I will no longer be a classroom teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I will still be in my “room” every day, but I will no longer be a classroom teacher.
This past weekend I had the privilege of virtually sitting in on a conference being held in Philadelphia (Educon: http://educon23.org/). What struck me most was a change in vocabulary. Henceforth: I will not refer to my room as a classroom, but rather, as learning space.
The word “classroom” has a lot of baggage and, at least in my mind, emphasizes the teacher at the center of the classroom. The word classroom conjures up images of a teacher in the front the classroom with chalk in hand disseminating knowledge to the masses. In a classroom, the teacher talks and the students listen. In a classroom the teacher “teaches” and hopes the students learn.
No longer! Instead of the teacher being the center of the classroom, the students should be the center: Or more specifically, learning should. Thus, I am now officially going to start calling my “classroom” a learning space.
I propose we educators begin to change the way we talk about our “rooms.” When we start calling them learning spaces it will force us to change the way we think about what happens in our rooms. When we communicate this name change to our students they will realize the point of school is to learn, not to be taught. And as they realize the power of learning for the sake of learning, our schools will become learning spaces.