Changed learning through changed space: when can a participatory approach to the learning environment challenge preconceptions and alter practice?

Pamela Woolner, Sheila McCarter, Kate Wall, Steve Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


School premises make a difference to learning, but it is important to understand the relationship between setting and educational activities. Physical space has been found to entrench practice, making it harder to reflect and make changes. Yet changes made to the physical environment may not lead to changes in teaching or learning. This may be understood theoretically in terms of levels of participation, and many school design practitioners advocate active participation of school communities in the processes of change. This article considers two case studies of teachers and learners engaging with their physical school learning environment. The overview of responses and outcomes generated by these two studies enables the identification of central issues for effective participatory approaches to the learning environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalImproving Schools
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • consultation
  • environment
  • teaching practice
  • voice

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