Prof. Elaine Stratford1, Prof. Kitty te Riele2, Dr Sarah Stewart2
1Institute for the Study of Social Change, University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,
2Peter Underwood Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
The need for high quality teacher education is evident in standards set by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to accredit pre-service teacher education programs. Seven standards apply: (a) know students and how they learn; (b) know the content and how to teach it; (c) plan for and implement effective teaching and learning; (d) create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments; (e) assess, provide feedback, and report on student learning; (f) engage in professional learning; and (g) engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers, and the community. In this paper, we focus on the fourth standard. We refer to a significant literature showing that physical learning environments affect literacy outcomes. We then consider how some of the 184 educators from 28 Tasmanian government schools in a three-year review of literacy teaching: view the importance of learning environments for educational attainment outcomes; articulate their concerns about certain characteristics of learning environments; and share their ideas for attractive, highly functional learning spaces conducive to teaching and learning, especially in relation to literacy. The insights gained from this research have allowed us to advance a (emergent) spatial framework for the AITSL standards that moves beyond one element to include all seven.
Elaine Stratford is a research professor in the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania. Her key focus is on fundamental, strategic, and applied research about how people flourish in place, in everyday and unexpected movements and migrations, in daily life, and over the life-course. She and her co-authors are currently working on pressing questions related to educational attainment and its effects on lifecourse outcomes.