The vision to create a learning environment that enables our students to discover their unique gifts or talents is moving forward in a variety of ways. Authors Daniel Pink and Paul Tough have synthesized recent research on understanding motivation in student success. Tough believes the key to student motivation is autonomy, competence, and relevancy. Students need a sense of security, belonging, and to believe they are a valued part of the learning environment. Tough found when students were engaged in deep and important work that challenged them, they experienced more exposure to an environment that made them feel autonomous and competent.
The physical environment by itself cannot provide creative instruction. It can, however, communicate to students the values and expectations the community has for them. Spaces should be designed to be warm and welcoming. This creates the sense of safety and security that students need to collaborate, communicate, take risks and become curious learners.