The Ideal Classroom Technique

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Dr Faye Morgan-Rose

BA, PGCE, Dip Psych, MA, Ed and Child Psy. D

Faye is an Educational and Child Psychologist from the UK. She is registered with the UK’s Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC website

Faye has worked in several of the UK’s leading Educational Psychology Services, including Birmingham, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall. She currently works as a Locum for Lincolnshire County Council having returned from working in Thailand and SE Asia.

She has published work in the fields of autism and pupil-voice techniques.

Her technique of using LEGO to support pupil-voice is now used by Educational Psychologists across the UK and is recognised by LEGO Education UK within their Build to Express training workshops.

Her Doctoral research won an award from the University of Birmingham for bringing “pioneering work” to the field of Learning Support.

Faye’s published work includes:

  • The HANDS Project: Touching the Future Technology for Autism? IOS Press, 2012. Chapter co-author. (Editors: J.Mintz, M.Gyori, and M.Aagaard).

  • Using PCP in practice: working with children and adolescents, H. Moran, 2014. Chapter author (ebook). Book available here and also available as an iBoook via iTunes: iBook

  • Handout available here: Building The Ideal Classroom with Lego Prompt Sheet June 2014 updated 2015

  • The Ideal Classroom: Perspectives of Young People Attending a Nurture Group, Doctoral Thesis, 2015. Available here

Awards and Invitations to Present

  • Winner of the University of Birmingham’s Disability, Inclusion & Special Needs Thesis Competition 2015. “Nurture Groups: Building the Ideal Classroom with PCP and Lego”.

  • Invited to present at York Children’s Services in 2015 (UK).

  • Presented at Walsall and Sandwell Local Authorities and The Personal Construct Psychology Centre in 2015 (all UK).

Interviews

Faye was interviewed by a local organisation in Bangkok during her time working there from 2015 to 2019.  For the full interview click here.

The History of The Ideal Classroom Technique

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 Clive’s (pseudonym) “Ideal Classroom” annotated model

Where did “The Ideal Classroom” technique come from?

“The Ideal Classroom” was created following some interest in a pupil-voice technique I developed as part of my Doctoral Thesis back in 2014.

My thesis titled “The Ideal Classroom: perspectives of young people attending a Nurture Group”  was the catalyst for developing this technique. I wanted to focus on the “voice of the child” and had a keen interest in both moderate learning difficulties and nurture groups so when an opportunity arose for me to carry out some research in these areas, I grabbed it!

Having previously supported research with LEGO® before, working alongside Gina Gomez in piloting an online adaption of the Lego Therapy intervention (LeGoff, 2004) at a UK, National Autistic Society school,  I was curious to see what more could be done with LEGO® in supporting students in school settings.

The Technique

The technique uses LEGO ® and Personal Construct Psychology (Kelly, 1955) to elicit pupils’ views on what they would (and would not) like in their classroom environment.

It’s a simple enough procedure, the pupil makes their “ideal classroom” in LEGO® whilst you make notes on what they say the various bits and pieces are and then the pupil is asked a series of nine questions. This is replicated for their “non-ideal classroom”. Ideally photographs of the two models are taken, and annotated together to ensure the pupil’s voice is reported accurately. 

Following a mention of this technique by Heather Moran on EpNet (an email system for those interested in educational psychology), several Educational Psychologists and Trainee Educational Psychologists across England and Scotland have expressed an interest in using this technique for “pupil-voice” in their work.

I was subsequently invited to present the technique to York Children’s Services and The Personal Construct Psychology Centre. It is my understanding that Hampshire Educational Psychology Service have bought and used their kit since September 2014.

The Research

I worked with eight students attending a secondary school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. These students attended a Nurture Group within the school and I wanted to explore what they wished for in their classroom environment. Findings from my study were used to further develop the school’s new purpose built, nurture group room. My research won an award from the University of Birmingham for “bringing pioneering work to the field of SEND”.

My research questions were:

  • Does the Nurture Group model of schooling reflect the “Ideal Classroom” perception of those attending it?
  • What are the key themes of an “Ideal” and “Non-ideal” classroom” for children attending a Nurture Group?
  • How do children with moderate learning difficulties use LEGO ® to support their expression of classroom life?

Analysis of the data shows themes of :

Ideal Classrooms: kinaesthetic learning styles, classroom environment, responsibilities and characteristics of others within the classroom, future life, play and feelings.

Non-Ideal Classrooms: responsibilities and characteristics of others within the classroom, disorder of environment, restrictions, punishments and enforcement of rules and feelings.

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse my research/website.

Here are 5 of the 8 young people’s models:

Above: Clive’s Ideal Classroom

Above: Clive’s Non-ideal Classroom

Above: Poppy’s Ideal Classroom

Above: Poppy’s Non-ideal Classroom

Above: Aston’s Ideal Classroom

Above: Aston’s Non-ideal Classroom

Above: Chyanne’s Ideal Classroom

Above: Chayanne’s Non-ideal Classroom

Above: Leo’s Ideal Classroom

Above: Leo’s Non-ideal Classroom