Ngā Matapakinga | Discussion

    Tessa Gray
    Misconceptions about MLEs
    23 August
    Public discussion Created by Tessa Gray

    Just stumbled across a conversation in the Facebook NZ Primary teachers facebook page. It was sparked by a teacher viewing a one-page advertisement in magazine from a school who had one catch phrase, 'Open plan, modern learning environments don't work.' In the rest of the thread was a link to a Stuff.co.nz article, Teachers struggle with Modern Learning Environments where one teachers account shows,

    "Endless collaboration between teachers sharing the spaces has distracted them from teaching pupils, who are in turn distracted by each other. Learning outcomes have gone down, not up, but no one wants to discuss the elephant in the room, he says." www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/90983510/teachers-struggle-with-modern-learning-environments​

    ClassroomIt was also interesting to watch the ping pong comments sway between comments that MLEs are nothing new and open-plan classrooms have been around since the 80's (without new gadgets) and didn't work then and aren't working now - to comments that say collaborative teaching in an MLE is only as good as the teaching, and;

    If you collaborate, share, respond to individual student needs proactively with your colleagues, and focus on improving student outcomes through building key relationships, then of course it can work. But teachers need to be trained, receptive and supported to implement new ways of doing things. And they have to be people who connect and work well together.

    No doubt this great debate happens all over the country in and out of staffrooms. Is there some substance to concerns? Is there research to either confirm or deny the impact of modern or innovative learning pedagogies? What are the bigger issues here and what supports your argument?

    Image source: classroom

    Kia ora, For anyone engaged in conversations with colleagues or parents regarding MLEs/ILEs and flexible learning spaces, you might like to check out Grow Waitaha's resource to support conversations and comms around innovative practice. You can find it here http://www.growwaitaha.co.nz/resources/key-documents-and-resources/ - click on The innovative learning model- sharing key messages.

    The key aims of the guide are to enhance understanding of flexible learning spaces; explore the reasons behind them and create constructive discussions that value everyone’s perspectives and experiences. The guide provides key messages and supporting resources to communicate effectively with whānau and the wider community about the opportunities an ILE presents.

    We are keen to hear how useful people find it.

    - By Helen Cooper
      • Helen Cooper
        By Helen Cooper
        Sep 2

        Kia ora, For anyone engaged in conversations with colleagues or parents regarding MLEs/ILEs and flexible learning spaces, you might like to check out Grow Waitaha's resource to support conversations and comms around innovative practice. You can find it here http://www.growwaitaha.co.nz/resources/key-documents-and-resources/ - click on The innovative learning model- sharing key messages.

        The key aims of the guide are to enhance understanding of flexible learning spaces; explore the reasons behind them and create constructive discussions that value everyone’s perspectives and experiences. The guide provides key messages and supporting resources to communicate effectively with whānau and the wider community about the opportunities an ILE presents.

        We are keen to hear how useful people find it.

        • Greg Carroll
          By Greg Carroll
          Aug 29

          There is an interesting debate/discussion ... happening in this thread in the Primary Teachers Facebook page too.  People get so hung up on the physical space and forget that it is what you do in the space that really counts.  Pedagogy trumps space every single time.

          • Tessa Gray
            By Tessa Gray
            Aug 22

            Kia ora Duncan and Helen Cooper thank you for these comments. As you say Duncan, Its not about the environments and as Lesley Murrihy writes in her blog post, All MLEs are not the same: Towards a "high level" definition (August 10), it's  misleading when we broad brush what we think MLEs/ILEs are, without understanding the nature about how these environments are set up for learning in the first place.

            The truth may be that a school that looks traditional with single cell classrooms might be more “MLE” than some schools with more open and flexible spaces. If this is the case, it begs the question, what is “MLE”? Can we actually define it?  

            These can all look very different, designed to find ways to give better access, (and in Lesley's case) acceleration for students - based on their differentiated needs. Sounds like guiding principles of UDL (Universal Design for Learning), inclusive education for all, whether it be in a single cell classroom or 'open-plan'. I particularly enjoyed Lesley's examples of matching teacher strengths with student needs and the shifts in student achievement as a result.

            What I think I hear Helen, is the importance to keep current research and understandings about the 'science of how we learn' at the heart of what we do - where our vision for learning becomes our beliefs, which is then reflected in how we teach - including the resources and environment we create/provide to enable this to happen. Evidence-based practice would ensure schools meet the needs of the communities they serve.

            As Gary Stager (Invent to Learn) says, “Where schools get in trouble is by not knowing what they believe, not articulating what they believe, and not standing by what they believe.”

            In terms of the research or evidence of impact...

            ILETC has recently released some new reports and a newsletter.
             
            The reports are:

            Thank you Greg Carroll for sharing these links and Nicholas Billowes for summarising:

            "Interpretation The review presented a small number of studies with adequate quality, sampling and statistical process to isolate and then evaluate the impact of different learning environment types.

            These studies presented evidence of a positive correlation between learning environments, and improvements in, student academic achievement. At the same time, the review highlighted the need for further longitudinal evaluation of how different learning environments impact a broader spectrum of student academic outcomes."


             

            Thank you Ngaire Shepherd-Wills for your sharing as well smiley

            So, what are our beliefs about how children learn powerfully and deeply? And what do YOU mean by learning? Seymour Sarason 

            I wonder how many different responses we'd get below?

            • Helen Cooper
              By Helen Cooper
              Jun 18

              Kia ora Duncan

              I have enjoyed your posts, questions and reflections. You might enjoy this article  "How People Learn: An Education Revolution Two Decades Delayed" ... It refers to research from 1999 that 'explained the way our understanding of learning changed in the 20th century' It has some clear explanations about terms such as student centred learning, exactly what it means and why it underpins the more recent pedagogical approaches that underpin ILE's etc. Like you it brings the discussion right back to what's important - how we learn and how we support learning and the 'learner as a whole' rather than the buildings we teach in. The research found three key factors in how we learn (see below) . The article/research may be useful in conversations when you are supporting others to focus on teacher practice. 

              • Learners’ preconceptions are the starting place for their further learning
              • Deep foundations of knowledge for deeper learning
              • A metacognitive approach to teaching and learning

              Also Grow Waitaha is constantly exploring the communication challenges schools exploring new models often face - so you may wish to explore resources available through that website.

                • Duncan
                  By Duncan
                  Jun 14

                  I think we need to focus on teacher practice as opposed to environments. If teachers are equipped with the mindset and the ability to teach in all environments (the average classroom teacher doesn't get to design the physical environment) they make themselves a more 'employable' teacher as they can mold to what the school needs. Does teacher training reflect the variety of classroom environments out there?

                  Some of those opposed to ILEs/MLEs feel there isn't enough evidence related to student achievement. I say student achievement is not the only purpose of a school. They need to consider the hauora, the soft skills that employers want, alongside student achievement.  

                   

                   

                  • Tessa Gray
                    By Tessa Gray
                    May 11

                    And the debate continues @ ILEs and MLEs | The hot debate continues. What do you think?

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