Brand-new & shiny! Now what? Educators’ “Spatial Commissioning” Workshops & Results


South Tower- Terrace (end of the hall)

  • Primary Core Competencies: Assessment of the School Facility
  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU
  • Secondary Core Competencies: Educational Visioning


The very first 21st century designed school, along with the 21st century learning place interiors were developed for this district (i.e., “learning pods” and their research-affirmed affordances). A new principal, and all newly hired educators experienced three workshop segments, or “spatial commissioning” - Pre, Just After and Post. First, a 1.5 day Critical Thinking Method Workshop was held Pre-turnover in mocked up spaces to begin to bridge the connections between: (a) each other, (b) educators and administrative team, (c) the idea of “space as a teaching tool” as these interiors were very different from what all were accustomed to, and (d) the development of a common language in which to work. Second, a half-day workshop was held a few weeks Just After the beginning of the opening semester. This workshop was timed in order to: (a) revisit what was affirmed in the pre-start workshop, (b) determine “how they were doing,” (c) determine and “shadow” or left over comfort zone behaviors, and (d) offer collective insights in terms of any struggles or challenges, or behaviors that educators found themselves falling back upon. The third workshop was near the end, or Post 1st Year’s term. This workshop asked: (a) for reflections on how the learning pods worked/didn’t, (b) what the educators learned about themselves and their students as they moved into this new type of learning and teaching methods, and (c) what were the lessons’ learned/what you would do differently next year to keep alive and honor the active learning vision growing. The workshop presenters will share the lessons learned after each of the workshops and valuable insights from a first year’s worth of work by the principal as a member of this presentation.

Learning Objectives

OBJ #1  Develop an appreciation for how the “commissioning” method works from a pedagogical perspective, and what each session worked to accomplish; How the method “implements a plan for educational commissioning that provides guidance on how to use and maximize the learning environment to meet the foundational vision established in the planning phase.”

OBJ #2  Interpret the “findings” from the sessions along with the presenters and have opportunities for discussion of the struggles identified through each phase; “Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on learning and teaching and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders.”

OBJ #3  Recognize that change is no easy task, and all of these individuals were new to space being a tool for learning and teaching. See the results from the educators’ perspectives

OBJ #4  Examine how the method led to the results of building a 21st century community of learners that is still evolving.

Lennie Scott-Webber, PhD, NCIDQ, AIA Affiliate, AIA/CAE, Owner/Principal, INSYNC: Education Research + Design

Sheila Hammond, Principal, , Ecole Salish Secondary School, Surrey School District #36

Noah Greenberg, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, DLR Group