In the Spring 2011 issue of Creative Educator I wrote a piece titled "Developing 21st Century Learning Environments". The article discusses our traditional notion of learning environments revolving around places and spaces and how an effective learning environment does not have to be limited to these things. The classroom of today should look much different from that of the past.
Today individuals are finding new ways of being and functioning in the 21st century that look much different from those of generations before. Mindfulness is on the rise and not just by those who embark on the path of yoga or meditation. Today schools are focusing more on social and emotional skills with their student population. Helping them to be aware and mindful of what they are feeling and how to self-regulate those emotions in order to sustain themselves with the demands of the classroom and world today. In other words giving students the ability and skills to construct their own way of being. Sound familiar?!
A constructivist classroom fosters critical thinking, flexibility, creativity, active learning, and more. All of which are standards of what a 21st century classroom should reflect. It is not just about technology, as the Creative Educator article reinforces. To sustain a 21st century classroom educators need to move from a transmissional instructional practice to a constructivist and transactional model. I believe in order for students to be successful in and out of the classroom today we need to create learning environments that give students the permission to construct knowledge, not receive it.