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Fragments II: micro stories about the learning business

The Odd Room in Every School

If we are honest, every school has one.

Sometimes out of sight, but often not, there is a room in every school that no one notices any more.

The Odd Room in your school is likely an ideal spot for bins of "lost and found", a simple passageway from A to B, a waiting room, or perhaps all three. Once upon a time, this room may have had a higher purpose, but, today, if you happened to even notice it, you'd quickly conclude that it is the opposite of intentionally designed. It's awkward, clumsy, and something of an institutional embarrassment.

Our Odd Room happened to be in the centre of our Campus on the ground floor of a nineteenth Century Château. In recent years, these ornate walls, moulded ceilings, and marble floors had been home to a fire alarm system, a poor quality coffee machine, a waiting-room for sick children, and a large, wall-mounted television screen that no one knew how to operate.

For years, we were busy decorating web pages and, all the time, ignoring the physical site that was right in front of our eyes and in full view of every family visiting our school.

The American architect, Louis Kahn, once said, "The Sun does not realise how wonderful it is until after a room is made".

A photograph of the ISB Marble Gallery in the school's Chateau
Each month a different story of life and learning will be told.

As I looked around this week at a re-made Marble Gallery space that is now curated each month by three volunteer members of our Advancement Team - each month a different celebration of life and learning across the school - I found myself thinking that who we are as a modern learning community is today brought into sharper relief.

I'd even go so far to say that our school is a little more wonderful because of the way in which this room reflects the story that is unfolding, sometimes unnoticed, all around.

So the moral of the story, or at least my take on it, is that whilst we will likely forever invest time and energy into digital storytelling for global audiences, sometimes the best stories are waiting to be celebrated much closer to home.

Cover photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.


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