Publication Date



Non-traditional open-plan schools and classrooms are currently enjoying a resurgence in Australia, with proponents arguing for the necessity of educational spaces that more readily accommodate the needs of twenty-first century learners. However, these learning environments can pose considerable pedagogic challenges for teachers who must balance the ethos of spaces designed to facilitate autonomous and flexible student learning, while simultaneously managing the complexities of shared space and resources, decreased staff–student ratios, and highly variable student responses to learning in open-plan settings. This paper draws on observational and interview data from an Australian study of three primary schools operating in open-plan spaces. Informed by cultural theories of spatial practice, we argue that the ways in which teachers conceptualize and operationalize notions of “structure” is pivotal to the responsiveness of pedagogic approaches within open-plan spaces.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.