Panel G.10 — Innovative Learning Environment as devices for social justice

Convenors Giuseppina Cannella (INDIRE, Italy); Wesley Imms (University of Melbourne, Australia); Julia Morris (Edith Cowan University, Australia)

Keywords Space & pedagogy; flexibility; Inclusion



This call unites the key concepts of how Innovative Learning environment can foster strategies for inclusion and equality in teaching.

International reflections on the ‘futures’ of schooling bring attention back to the issue of territorial alliances (OECD, 2020) and consolidate the prospect of a new social contract of education (UNESCO, 2021), based on respect for human rights, non-discrimination, social justice, human dignity and cultural diversity. The document “Reimaging our futures together. A new social contract for education” also emphasises the central role of schools as essential places, but which need to be experienced differently. In order to guarantee an educational system that is fair and capable of overcoming the barriers of inequality, it is appropriate for the entire educating community to participate in and be responsible for a unified project. The educational space, with its relations with the subjects that inhabit it and the territory that hosts and integrates it, assumes particular relevance in the current school context, because it is intertwined with the pedagogical component of the school and with the other aspects that characterise school life in terms of comfort, well-being, quality of education, equity and inclusion.

In a very recent work (“Promoting diversity and inclusion in schools in Europe”, 2023), edited by the Eurydice Unit, the European Commission outlined the state of the art of policies and practices for promoting diversity and inclusion at school. Among the various components, it emphasises the central role of the Member States’ national policies in removing obstacles to participation for all; obstacles that include, among others, the physical, symbolic and functional components of the learning space. The bio-psycho-social perspective of the WHO recalls that in the design of the learning environment it is necessary to refer to some fundamental elements: appropriation, i.e. the space should allow for a certain degree of customisation, in relation to the different educational activities and educational needs; access, i.e. it should provide for use by all, through the use of a universal design; flexibility, the space should be flexible, reconfigurable and redesignable, in response to changing users and needs; sensory, the space should support well-being.

The panel intends to compare and exchange research experiences on learning (and teaching) environments that meet the above-mentioned principles, i.e. the participation of all and everyone, the welcoming of diversity, the promotion of well-being, the breaking down of barriers, especially cultural and social ones, and support for the construction of an equitable, sustainable and inclusive society. To this end, examples of participatory and inclusive design and realisation of furniture, buildings or installations – both inside and outside the school – will enrich the dialogue and exchange of the scientific community dealing with this issue.

It is expected that the abstracts submitted as part of this call will be diverse, representing a range of interrogations.

Guidelines and abstracts submission