Friday, 18 March 2016

Modern Learning Environment Opportunities

This morning I was fortunate enough to be involved in the Manaiakalani School Leaders Study Tour, hosted at Stonefields Primary School. We were invited to Stonefields to view their modern learning environments in action, as well as provided with ample opportunities to hear both the student and teacher voices, and ask questions.

Today I walked away questioning how I can attempt to implement their way of teaching and learning into my professional journey and school. I think the atmosphere of the classrooms and the vibes from the students was so positive throughout the entire tour, thanks to the supportive, open learning environments the students are immersed in. The students enjoy their learning, as they are able to immerse themselves in learning about whatever they are passionate about, known as Break Through. For instance, some students wanted to make quilts for the Starship Hospital, some created artwork (see right and above) to showcase around school, and one boy worked individually to write a novel. I love how their passion is the focus of their learning, which I want to see more of at Tamaki College.

Pondering how we may be able to include more co-teaching and collaborative teaching at Tamaki, there are various ways, but some may take a while to achieve. I would love to be able to teach all our year levels at the same time. This would eliminate having to stream classes, would enable all students to be provided with the same learning opportunities, and more than one teacher would always be present in class. Currently a struggle is the seniors being at different stages throughout a unit, and being taught very differently, but are then provided with the same assessment (NCEA). This is a department work on, but unfortunately due to how a school timetable is manipulated too, which would be the biggest challenge to put into practice co-teaching and modern learning environments - where and how could we find the time with students choosing multiple options.

However, there are ideas I have floating around in my head which are more achievable. I would love to do the same as Stonefields and encourage students in Art or Graphics to create/design creations to be around the school, like these photos. This eliminates teachers creating learning environments which they think are the best for the students, and enables the students to literally create their own learning environments

I have heard about modern learning environments within secondary schools, rather than primary, which I would love to go and check out for even more relevance to me. To learn more about Stonefields and the wonderful opportunities they are providing their learners, please browse their website!

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