Giving Compass' Take:

• There are various misconceptions about flexible learning environments in middle schools as they become more personalized. Here, the authors explain and debunk six myths about middle school innovation in education. 

• How can flexible learning environments in middle school help enhance students' trajectories? How can donors invest in flexible learning environments? 

• Read more about the significance of these types of classrooms. 

In the fall of 2016, middle school began moving towards providing more personalization for our students through the use of flexible time and space, and implementing interdisciplinary units. Since then, we have worked to help our families understand what this looks like in action.

We’ve heard there are some misconceptions out there. We hope to clarify some of them so that families can better understand the work of middle school, and how we’re responding to the changing world to better prepare our students for the future.

Myth #1: It’s all about the space

False. You may remember that last year we wrote a piece that discussed how physical space is just one component of a flexible learning environment.

Myth #2: It’s an open, giant classroom.

False. We are not talking about the open classroom concept of the 1970s. Our newly renovated spaces in the middle school are designed to be able to serve many functions—hence the term flexible not open.

Myth #3: There are too many kids per teacher.

False. The student-teacher ratio in our learning communities remains the same as our standard classroom, which is 22:1. However, with multiple teachers in the space, efficiencies of time and skills are created.

Myth #4: The renovated spaces are unfair for introverts.

False. In purposefully designed flexible learning spaces, “cave spaces” for one to two students, small break out areas for groups of 3-10, and moveable furniture and partitions allow for a multitude of ways for the space to be used.

Myth #5: It’s always loud.

False. There are times that all of our learning spaces—flexible or traditional—might seem loud, but there is a big difference between meaningless noise and the sound of students learning.

Read the full article about debunking myths about flexible learning environments by Lauren Mehbrach, Chris Beingessner, and Chris Raymaakers at Getting Smart.