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Shared-Classroom Redesign Plan Riles Teachers

As part of a new plan to expand a number of its highs schools, the Portland, Ore., school district is looking into a design model that would be based on a "college-style" use of classrooms, according to local news station KATU.

What this means, essentially, is that teachers would share classrooms but would have offices where they could meet with students and each other. The district calls this an "open-collaborative classroom" model and says it would promote more interaction among teachers and make more efficient use of space.

But some Portland teachers apparently aren't so wild about the idea. According to KATU, one teacher from the city's Franklin High School broke into tears when reacting to the plan at a recent board meeting. "Our students are not college students, a college model is not going to work," she said.

She argued that the conventional one-classroom, one-teacher model helps educators build relationships and community with students and that many students would be deterred from seeking extra help if they have to seek out teachers in offices.

The district spokesman told a KATU reporter that the "open-collaborative model" was just one of a number of design proposals under consideration,  but she didn't offer details on what the others were.

While seemingly different in intent, a number of high schools have been experimenting with more open instructional-space designs as a way to better facilate technology use and blended-learning activities.

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