Modern Learning Environments

Junior school teachers go to Christchurch to look at examples of Innovative Learning Environments.

The school has been looking at renovating ‘A’ wing to make it ‘home’ for the year 7 and 8 students. The new design will be based on the concept of a ‘modern or innovative learning environment’. Recently three teachers from the junior school, Kate Veale, Kylie O’Dowd and Monica Hulme, spent the day in Canterbury looking at a range of schools that have either renovated, or designed and built, classrooms adopting the ‘ILE’ model.

We were accompanied by Amanda Taylor, the architect. Three schools were visited and each of the designs were quite different, The concept is a larger classroom that can usually accommodate at least two classes. We were surprised at how quiet the new environments were given the number of children in each area. We observed small groups of students working collaboratively following formal instruction from the teacher. The teachers then ‘conferenced’ with small groups rather than the whole class.

The areas we saw were bright and welcoming with ‘break out’ spaces for small group work. The next step will be for staff to closely observe the necessary shift in teaching style and looking more closely at the research around the effectiveness of an ILE for student engagement and learning.