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The Innovative Classroom

student centered learning 2

The Innovative Classroom

Innovation – a word that seems to be losing some of its punch in the business world might just be gaining real momentum in the world of education as seen in the Austin, TX classroom of Emily E. Smith. Smith, 1 of 50 teachers in the American Teachers: Heroes in the Classroom series, is taking student-centered instruction to another level with her innovative “Hive Society” classroom instruction.

In Smith’s classroom, many familiar items found in a 19th century classroom like student desks, manufactured posters, and textbooks have been replaced by “conference tables, vintage stools, low-to-the-ground tables, area rugs, and … authentic student work.” Additionally, technology integration is “easily accessible” for student use inside Smith’s classroom. These changes are significant, and they speak to the kind of innovation needed in so many classrooms across the country. Ultimately, I love the environment that Smith creates in her classroom because it puts the needs of her students first; empowering them to take academic and social-emotional risk each day. I can only hope the Emily E. Smiths of the profession can hold on to their beliefs and continue to inspire their students to stay actively engaged in their learning.

The notion of a “Hive Society” is one that I hope will catch on in other classrooms because it is exactly the kind of learning that our students deserve – they truly deserve a place filled with busy activity. Let’s all start creating hives in our classrooms. tlb

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About principalaim

Head of Lower School, Louisville Collegiate School

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