Learning Spaces Aotearoa

Last week, I attended the first Learning Spaces Aotearoa conference put on by Learning Environments New Zealand (thanks to winning a ticket through their facebook page). It was a really inspiring day and the conversations were slightly different than normal edu conferences because of the mix of people present – teachers, Ministry and architects. Across the speakers I heard, conversations I had and the site visits that I experienced, there were some key themes to emerge from the day.

Welby Ings opened the conference with a provocative keynote, with key points that resonated across the rest of the day. By the end of our schooling, students have learned in more than 30 formal classroom spaces all of which impact our cognitive, social and emotional reactions to learning. As people are neurodiverse, we will all interpret and process information differently within these spaces. Welby set out 3 key themes to consider when designing learning spaces, which apply whether it is a traditional 4 walled classroom or a newly built innovative learning environment. Continue reading

Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

It’s the start of another school year and we are running around organising getting to know you type activities, collaborating on class rules etc. Why?

  1. we are people and people like to make connections with others. 
  2. because research has proven that creating a supportive learning environment has a positive impact on student learning.

This is why creating a supportive learning environment is included in the Effective Pedagogy section of the New Zealand Curriculum. This approach recognises that learning takes place in a social and cultural context.

From a student perspective this means that learning occurs best when they:

Positive relationship building and active learning happening as Year 9 students enjoy their first days at Lynfield College this week.

Effective teachers will: Continue reading

A Key to Great PD?

This year I was privileged to be one of Core Education’s eFellows. This eFellowship would have to be one of the greatest professional learning experiences that I have ever been a part of. I have had major brain hurt, had my views challenged, laughed until it hurt and made some brilliant friends along the way.

The 2015 eFellows

The 2015 eFellows

We had an initial hui in Auckland to plan our inquiries and have those plans challenged; then met in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland again spread out over Terms 1-3. Each time we met up there were sessions on our specific inquiries to help them move along.

Aside from this though, were other great experiences.  Continue reading

Student Echo Chambers

Yesterday I wrote about breaking out of my echo chamber, so of course my thoughts then turned to my students. Are our students operating in echo chambers and should this be something we worry about?

Well yes, I believe this is something to be concerned about and here’s why. Deeper understanding is developed through:

  • encountering multiple perspectives
  • confronting cognitive dissonance
  • empathising with situations different to our own

If students are constantly interacting with people with similar opinions to themselves, how are they going to do any of the above? Continue reading