History of the Ideal Classroom

Welcome to the History of The Ideal Classroom 

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

Where did “The Ideal Classroom” technique come from?

by Dr Faye Morgan-Rose 

 

“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