Interview with David Spencer Classroom Architect

Online Interview with David Spencer Classroom Architect, Broadway Malyan, 29 September, 2016.

Topic: Designing classrooms with David Spencer 

This interview was so much fun and really interesting- REALLY interesting!  Collaboration and creativity were key factors throughout the interview.  A little bit of background to this hangout interview, I met David on Twitter, and saw his posts about designing innovative classroom environments, so between tweets I invited him to share his insight about the links between pedagogy and designing engaging learning environments for my blog and uni students- thankfully he said YES.

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These were the interview questions I asked David to prepare for:

What inspires your classroom design?

In an ideal classroom for the Arts what do you plan for?

How do your designs reflect Arts pedagogic practices?

What is ineffective classroom design in your opinion?

How does classroom design affect student behaviour?

David prepared a mindmap for the interview, if you’d like to view it, click here

There were lots of interesting issues raised throughout the interview, my top 3 are:

  1. Interdisciplinary collaboration between sciences and art students learning in the same building- this creates informed learners through collaboration due to shared spaces.  This shared space was between the classrooms, and functioned as ‘touch down’ points to sit, chat, share and collaborate over time.  Often we separate arts and science, but both David’s contention and my position is that arts and science/maths are connected as they involve the creative process of problem solving and iterative thinking.  There’s something which connect us to learn from each other in different ways.

2. Our discussion led me to reflect on my personal requirements as an artist, and strategies for student management during the creative process, and that was having the time and space to pause and just be on your own.  Autonomy is a really important part of creativity, and sometimes we just need space and quiet to reflect or just maintain/pause flow.

3.The notion of “comfort” is key to good classroom design- there were many approaches which David discussed around this, even for the humble teacher in a portable.

Here is the video, my voice and camera is terrible, I apologize, luckily I’m not on screen often; it will be sorted for the next interview.



Please connect with David on Twitter and click to share the tweet below

Interesting interview about classroom design with @spencerd50 and @IngridHLee1 #artsed #classroomdesign


Lastly, what did you think about this interview? Please share your feedback in the comments

If you would like to be interviewed, please contact me

Seminar with Dr Christine Winter, VU Melbourne

Visiting Scholar Seminar Dr Christine Winter 18 April, from the University of Sheffield, UK.

Venue: Victoria University, FTS PK Campus

Topic: National Curriculum Policy Reform in England and Australia: Implications for Students, Teachers and Social Justice?


I really enjoyed Christine Winter’s seminar, it was my first foot back into academia after 15 years, and I wanted to start getting my headpsace back into academic education and inform my thinking for my upcoming PhD coursework.  After the seminar, my head starting buzzing with new ideas and those feelings of ‘I’m an agent of change’ starting flooding back.  I’m really glad I’ve decided to come back to study at this time; I’m ready for it and focused.

Interesting sections to think about

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As I’m starting to think around my research question at this time and how school curriculum policy and reform affect Higher education- particularly as a comparative UK and Australia study (I know, I know, I’m going big, but it’s just how I think, it’ll be refined in due course), I made note of the following points or questions which pertained to me and my research:

  • Content overload and question the political influences of priorities
  • Look at the ACARA site, highlighting Federal approaches to standardised curriculum, State based teacher CPD and assessment
  • Standardised prescribed content with state based vernacularisation- is there a difference?
  • What are the links between NAPLAN, School Priorities and Higher education values?
  • Interesting perception that students are seen as data in the UK- learning is assessment and performance driven, and not inclusive of the passion for study or personal interests regardless of scores.
  • What are the assumptions we make of whose knowledge is of most worth?
  • What are the structural inequalities of education? Derrida and Levinas (see references below)

Main questions I’m thinking about after attending this seminar which will help open my research topic:

  • How do student teachers have the skills to be flexible and develop creative thinking- what are we teaching them at uni or modelling to them to be flexible and cope with change?
  • How do universities hear the needs of preservice teachers?  Apart form feedback surveys.
  • What are the assumptions we make of whose knowledge is of most worth?
  • It seems the questions are still focused around schools/teacher/policy. I want to know how engagement of curriculum policy links to critical education research, and how does it affect university curriculum?

References to note:
Derrida, Jacques (1992). Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority’. In ed. Drucilla Cornell, Michael Rosenfield and David G. Carlson. In Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld & David Carlson (eds.).

Lévinas, Emmanuel. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Duquesne University Press, 1969.

Lingard, Bob and McGregor, Glenda (2014) Two contrasting Australian Curriculum responses to globalisation: What students should learn or become. Curriculum Journal, 25 1: 90110. doi:10.1080/09585176.2013.872048