People, Pedagogy, and Place

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - By: Mr. Bud Patel

Brentwood is a member of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools association (CAIS). This national organization of nearly 100 independent schools focuses on continuous school improvement through professional development, sharing, and accreditation. The theme for this year’s Heads and Chairs Conference in Ottawa was People, Pedagogy, and Place – how can we maximize the learning experiences when we create the positive intersection of these three ingredients. While, perhaps, this is self-evident, we must pay attention and, in fact, enhance these relationships.

As part of our visit to our nation’s capital, I was fortunate to visit Shopify – one of Canada’s software and employment darlings. See below for some details.

  • Founded in 2004

  • Head Office – Ottawa

  • 300,000 merchants with over $10B gross merchandise

  • $205M in revenue (2015)

  • 3rd largest e-commerce software provider in the world

Their work spaces focus on multiple modalities of thinking – solitary, team, and large group – that is designed to maximize the 5 hours of daily creative thought they hope to get from their youngish employee base. Coders and accountants interact at food bars, shuffleboard stations, and break-out spaces. For recharging, they have “napping” pods and solitary contemplation centres. Furthermore, the management encourages movement, health, and wellness. Like the famous Google Campus in the Silicon Valley, Shopify is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to allow maximum flexibility for their employees. Work-life integration rather than work-life balance. The bottom line though is that Shopify values a wide-variety of people, times, and spaces to work.

Given the cutting-edge nature of these future work spaces, what does that mean for us? Well, over the past few years, we have added breakout spaces, realigned our library services to a Learning Commons, and experimented with new furniture - all to enhance learning and working. We are a 24/7 campus that focuses on the whole-child through our tripartite program. We are committed to providing collaborative and solitary work. We are committed to providing a healthy (both physical and mental) atmosphere. We are committed to be an environmental steward. You get the point!

Brentwood’s belief is that students need to be exposed to a wide-variety of people, times, and spaces to learn. This adaptability and skill development are required to successfully navigate an ever-changing and exciting world.

My visit to Shopify reinforced for me the positive direction Brentwood is charting and I am thankful to be part of such a strong and innovative place of learning.

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