Unlike the traditional single cell classrooms, where a teacher works with a single class, modern learning involves teachers working more collaboratively with students, either in different sized groups or individually.
Havelock North Primary School was one school that had already started implementing this style of learning and principal Nick Reed was full of praise.
“Parents are initially reluctant as having lots of kids in a space can be concerning for them but the data is very positive and it shows most kids thrive in this environment.”
Year 2s were already learning collaboratively with three teachers working together and more flexible spaces were in the process of being built for the Year 5s and 6s.
“It is different for parents as they have all been to schools with one teacher and one classroom so we have to educate them along the way as it is a whole new mind shift.”
Waipukurau Primary School was also engaging in this flexible learning with the Year 7s and 8s.
Principal Tim Hocquard said it had been very successful with their students able to take responsibility for their own learning.
“We started this at the start of the year and students have learnt better self management and they are more capable on their own. We are moving away from total teacher control.”
Mr Hocquard said this style was a better use of teacher resources and allowed the kids to develop more agency for their learning.
The classrooms were joined together in an L shape and teachers took different workshops within the space.
Mr Hocquard said students could elect to go to a workshop based on their needs or teachers would tell them to go.
Head of the Education Infrastructure Service Kim Shannon said a number of schools had developed Innovative Learning Environments, whether as a part of new builds and redevelopments, or through adjustments to their existing spaces.
“Around $800,000 will be invested to build two new classrooms at Greenmeadows School in Napier. These will be delivered as Innovative Learning Environments. In the meantime, they have created innovative spaces in their existing classrooms.”
Taradale School was similarly converting three teaching spaces into an innovative learning environment and Clive School was managing their own design and build process, and were also extending their existing Innovative Learning Environment space.
Ms Shannon said these flexible learning projects also included high standards of lighting, acoustics, and air quality and the installation of new information technology and furniture. A variety of mobile furniture meant that teaching spaces could be rearranged as classes moved through different learning activities.
Source: Hawkes Bay Today