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Marian Mahat

Associate Professor, Learning Environments

University of Melbourne, Australia


Dr Marian Mahat is an Associate Professor of Learning Environments in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne. She leads a sustained and impactful research on learning environments, with an emphasis on co-designing curriculum and pedagogy, teacher-led inquiry, and professional learning and development of teachers across different educational and learning environment contexts. Working across multiple fields of inquiry, utilising innovative quantitative and qualitative methodologies and interdisciplinary collaboration with other universities, industry, and schools, she has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reports, and recipient or co-recipient of over AUD$2.2M in internal and external research funding. Marian leads a series of micro-credentials on Leading Change in Learning Environments at the University of Melbourne, and is series editor of Linking Theory and Practice in Learning Environments published by Emerald.

Why Space Matters for Differentiated Instruction

School learning environments have profound implications for teachers and teaching. Around the world, school learning spaces are being spatially transformed to incorporate innovative designs and pedagogies, digital technology, and new ergonomic furniture—often ‘un-classroom-like’ in their form but can more readily accommodate the needs of contemporary learners. Drawing on evidence-based research, this keynote presentation discusses the importance of school learning environments in supporting differentiated instruction and how teachers can leverage the physical space to prompt transformative student learning and outcomes.

Expert Workshop
Using Design Thinking for Aligning Differentiated Instruction with Space Use

Design thinking is one approach that has been found to be useful for schools and school systems to understand the needs of students and teachers and design targeted improvements in their learning spaces and pedagogical practices that cater for differentiated instruction. These co-design processes allow teachers to build their professional spatial understanding of using the physical space as part of their pedagogical toolbox. Using design thinking principles, this interactive workshop empowers teachers as designers and as makers of a ‘third teacher’ to be attentive to the myriad ways in which the physical space can support differentiated instruction and spark learning.

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