Teachers as Designers of Learning Environments

The Importance of Innovative Pedagogies

image of Teachers as Designers of Learning Environments

Pedagogy is at the heart of teaching and learning. Preparing young people to become lifelong learners with a deep knowledge of subject matter and a broad set of social skills requires a better understanding of how pedagogy influences learning. Focusing on pedagogies shifts the perception of teachers from technicians who strive to attain the education goals set by the curriculum to experts in the art and science of teaching. Seen through this lens, innovation in teaching becomes a problem-solving process rooted in teachers’ professionalism, rather than an add-on applied by only some teachers in some schools.

Teachers as Designers of Learning Environments: The Importance of Innovative Pedagogies provides a snapshot of innovative pedagogies used in classrooms around the world. It sets the stage for educators and policy makers to innovate teaching by looking at what is currently taking place in schools as potential seeds for change. At the heart of all of these approaches is a sensitivity to the natural inclinations of learners towards play, creativity, collaboration and inquiry. To illustrate how teachers use these innovative practices, the publication presents examples from 27 national and international networks of schools.

It is now generally acknowledged that the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. This volume goes a step further to argue that a teacher cannot help students meet new educational challenges by continuing to draw on a limited and perhaps even inherited set of pedagogies. And here lies the genuine importance of innovative pedagogies.


Experiential learning

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

This cluster includes some approaches that best represent what innovation looks like in schools, for some the approaches included have been around for a significant period of time. In particular, this chapter revolves around three main forms of experiential learning: project-based learning, service-based learning and the teaching of uncertainty competences, as key skills to prepare students to address real, complex challenges. The chapter focuses not only on the importance of the process of discovery and the value of the personal making of meaning, but more widely on the importance of understanding and delivering learning environments as holistic experiences that request the active experimentation of learners with their peers. Then the discussion focuses on key areas to secure the implementation of this approach, including the identification of particular challenges that need to be addressed. In particular it is emphasised how experience does not necessarily take place within the school or a single subject – and therefore the importance of outdoor learning and interdisciplinary planning.


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