Select a Building Block:
  • Living Classroom

Unlock the potential. Open the door to the living classroom.

Explore the Potential for the Living Classroom: (1) Agree on the LC Definition, (2) Determine Operational Viability, (3) Identify the Win-Win Opportunities and Develop Shared Values


Agree on the Living Classroom Definition

The first building block focuses on developing a clear Living Classroom definition that resonates from the perspective of both the LTC home and the PSE. This is an important first step to promote a full and shared understanding of the idea of the LC. The definition can be refined or adapted later, if needed.

In defining the LC, it is important to realize that the LC is much more than a classroom that is physically located within a LTC home. Our conceptual definition of the LC is one that extends education well beyond the main PSE location; by creating the opportunity for multiple ways to learn and reinforce learning through real-time experiences that also enhance leadership potential among PSW graduates and future employment in LTC. The LC offers the opportunity for ongoing learning, both for a PSE and a LTC organization. The LC serves as a model for other LTC homes to mobilize a culture of learning and excellence, even when they do not currently have a LC in place.

From development work by the authors and contributors to this guide, our working definition of the Living Classroom is as follows:

The Living Classroom is an interprofessional (IP) approach, whereby a post-secondary educator program is delivered within the context of a long-term care home, with team members consisting of faculty, students, long-term care teams, residents and families, who engage with each other within a culture of learning.

The following features deepen this definition:

  • The LC situates students within a learning-centred workplace environment where new knowledge and relationships create a deeper understanding, resulting in a culture that promotes dynamic and responsive learning for students and LTC staff alike.
  • The LC offers students an opportunity to become more fully prepared to assume careers in LTC settings with the confidence and mindset of engaging in person-centred care and services for older adults and their families. Modelling is the primary teaching strategy, enabling students to integrate theoretical and practical learning within a supportive context that promotes real-life learning.
  • In the LTC home, the LC supports IP practices that align with best practices and with what students are learning. It provides LTC team members with opportunities to teach and mentor students, thus enhancing their own knowledge and skills and sustaining their motivation. It provides immediate benefit to residents and their families as well.