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

Developing Coteaching HPSS Style

We are continuing to develop the effectiveness of our coteaching at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. Over the past 2 weeks we have continued reading into effective coteaching practices from overseas and comparing these to our practices here at HPSS. Much of this overseas literature is based in Primary and/or for including special educational needs into mainstream classrooms.

With this gap in literature, we have identified that some of our practices are already exceeding that shared online. There is, however, plenty left for us to learn and improve. Since our last session on coteaching models we have focused on the role a teacher can play in supporting their coteacher.

Last week, our reading was this table from a research article by Wendy Murawski:

 

This table was helpful for us, but many staff felt that we already did these activities and in some cases could provide examples of partner roles that exceeded those in the table. Continue reading

Co-Teaching in Action

Secondary teachers primarily spend their time teaching their class, in their room, in their own personal way. One of our biggest concerns when starting to teach at Hobsonville Point Secondary School was around how the co-teaching (team teaching, whatever you want to call it) was going to operate. The major positive working in our favour was that while holding concerns, we were all keen to try it out.

This mindset held us well over the first year. We tried things out, worked on our teaching relationships, gave feedback and planned for how to improve our co-teaching. Continue reading

MLP not MLE

This week I have been in Christchurch as part of our efellows programme. Our time was split between working on our research; provocations from Core staff such as Keryn Davis  (on power of play and student questions) and Derek Wenmoth (returning to the why and sharing books that are at the core of his beliefs to get us thinking of our core beliefs); and getting the chance to visit some schools in the area.

The schools that we were privileged to visit were Breens Intermediate and Te Pa o Rakaihautu. There were 2 really key points that I took from these visits: 1) seeing what it looks like when a shared vision is in action and 2) what MLE can look like in traditional classrooms. What they showed together was that modern learning environments is a complete misnomer, it is about modern learning practices. Continue reading

Working in an MLE

This post was originally written for The Network – a newsletter for the New Zealand Board of Geography Teachers:

Modern Learning Environments (MLE) seem to be springing up all over the country and all new builds or developments in schools now are supposed to be under this model. I have been teaching in a brand new MLE this year at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. So what is it actually like to work in an MLE? Continue reading