Empowering students to take ownership of classroom space

An initial idea presented was, ‘students are able to redesign their classroom by applying new spatiotemporality, which is to add new meaning on particular spots or objects in the classroom’. The idea was based on a thought that students are supposed to be co-owners of classroom space, and teachers’ role is to support all students to practise their co-ownership. There are two types of relevant studies in literature: ownership of learning and ownership of physical space.

First, there are a number of studies to support empowering students to take ownership of learning. Some typical studies are as follows: Dempsey, Beesley, Clark, and Tweed’s (2016) empowering students as partners in learning through an assessment model that students monitor and adjust their own learning strategies; Marin’s (2015) experiential learning that students are empowered through taking control of their own learning process using a learning simulation system; and Herzig’s (2017) study on letting students to express their prior experience and knowledge in a narrative form to promote their ownership of learning. In these studies, ownership of learning is the primary focus, and its effectiveness is verified by students’ increased engagement, quality of work, and positive attitudes towards learning. Second, a study on the space is found in Barrett, Davies, Zhang, and Barrett’s (2015) project that explored impacts of school building design on student learning. They assessed 153 classrooms in 27 primary schools in the UK and identified seven key design parameters that include ownership that is ‘a measure of both how identifiable and personalised the room is’ (p. 119). In the study, the ownership parameters are related to design principles for'individualisation’that include a personalised space (e.g., lockers), a display of student created artefacts, and high-quality furniture (e.g., chairs and desks).

Both ownership of learning and ownership of physical space studies classify ownership as an abstract object and a physical object respectively. In the former studies, the concept of ownership appears as student engagement in learning, not physical space. By contrast, the latter studies regard it as a personalised area where individual students occupy and use. Yet, a classroom can be understood as a space where students’ experiences are shared and attached. In such prior studies, fundamentally, it is assumed that space and time are separate and distinctive, and a collection of areas for individual students and public areas forms a classroom. A CDP question arises, are the assumptions inclusive of those students who have non- Western cultural backgrounds? Those students might not experience authentic ownership of their classroom because such a dualistic understanding does not promote a holistic experience that meaning is embedded in our spatiotemporal engagement in a space where a lifehood experience is collectively formed (Dreamson, 2018).

The idea of classroom ownership as a collective and interdependent space was developed based on Australian Indigenous trans-spatiotemporality. It refers to the non-dualistic and networked individuality that all living beings are ontologically interconnected and epistemologically interrelated, which is an ecological and place- based belief system that promotes collective and relational consciousness of a place (Dreamson, 2018). To realise a culturally inclusive learning space, students need to be given opportunities to create and embed collective memories in their classroom spaces in a collaborative manner. To do this, QR code technology was considered.

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