Westpac Business and Community Hub,– Tuesday 11 March, 2014
WHAT ARE SCHOOLS FOR?
1. Get a good job
2. Learn to be a consumer
3. Learn to adore
“We need to address the
philosophical purpose of
school – if parents,teachers
and kids don’t believe in the
purpose of school it becomes
a place of detention,not
attention.”Neil Postman 1931 - 2003
Mental models are the
assumptions & stories which we
carry in our minds of ourselves,
other people, institutions, &
every aspect of the world.
Differences between mental
models explain why two people
can observe the same event and
describe it differently; they are
paying attention to different
“Schools may be the starkest example in
modern society of an entire institution
modelled after the assembly line. This has
dramatically increased educational capability
in our time, but it has also created many of the
most intractable problems with which
students, teachers and parents struggle to this
If we want to change schools, it is unlikely to
happen until we understand more deeply the
core assumptions on which the industrial-age
school is based”
1996, Prof. Hedley Beare
“egg crate” classroomsset class groups based on age
period-based timetablelinear curriculum
division of all human knowledge into “subjects”
division of staff by “subject”
allocation of most school tasks to teachers
assumption that learning is geographically bound
notion of stand-alone school
limiting ‘formal schooling’ to years 0-13
9-3 school day
SHUT THEM DOWN?
These are the fundamentals of the futurist
Alvin Toffler’s vision for education in the 21st
• Open 24 hours a day
• Customized educational experience
• Kids arrive at different times
• Students begin their formalized schooling
at different ages
• Curriculum is integrated across disciplines
• Non-teachers work with teachers
• Teachers alternate working in schools and
in business world
• Local businesses have offices in the
• Increased number of charter schools
formal learning via
Students at home,
library or other
Any time, any place, any pace, any
“the power to act”;
informed, enabled, empowered learners
• Self directed learning
• Un-tethered to traditional institution
• Expert at personal data aggregation
• Power of connections
• Creating new communities
• Not tethered to physical networks
• Experiential learning
• Content developers
• Process as important as knowledge
FREE AGENT CHARACTERISTICS
‘edgeless schools’, global reach
David Ronfeldt TIMN (Tribal, Institutional, Market, Network)
Collections of entities
Association of entities
The way networks learn is the way individuals learn
PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK #1
• MLE supports differentiated and student-centred learning.
• MLE produces better teaching and learning.
• Teachers are more accountable and empowered to collaborate through
the power of 2 – 5 to provide quality teaching and learning.
• De-privatising practice and having learning spaces that are open,
inclusive and accessible is best practice in NZ and beyond.
• And a great quote about MLE architecture: Learning within purposeful
de-privatised learning centred spaces with architecture that “makes you
want to learn”:)
PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK #2
• All members of the school's community have to work together to create a
shared vision around learning. As long as everything that occurs can be
true to that vision then teaching and learning can be successful. This
does not mean that everyone has to do everything in exactly the same
• The environment is not the most essential part of the process. There is no
one correct plan for what a MLE should look like.
• Learning doesn't stop with the children, teachers are also lifelong
learners and are learning to improve their knowledge and practice all the
time through use of collaborative teaching and teacher coaching.
• When involved in designing new learning spaces we need to be aware
that we are not just planning for ourselves but for the next twenty plus
years so spaces need to be able to be arranged in a variety of ways as no
one can know what the needs of the learners will be then.
PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK #3
• Excitement and challenges are two words that come to mind. In a positive
way of course!
• I keep coming back to the children and what will best meet their needs.
During our great trip, we saw children engaged in their learning. I know
we see this in more traditional classrooms too.What I liked was the level
of engagement of the teachers in their own learning, in the confidence
they displayed, and their conviction that the open spaces created a more
dynamic and effective teaching model.
• I also liked the belief the leaders had in that they were making a
difference for their students and for their teachers.
• I liked seeing children demonstrating independence in their learning
and their ability to self manage.The published league tables affirmed the
levels of achievement were to be commended, and that the National
Testing did not inhibit the learning in depth and breadth that was taking
PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK #4
• Outstanding, passionate, inspirational leadership - I think that's crucial in
setting up a successful MLE.
• Also a clear, collaboratively formed vision is vital. Each successful
principal we saw, was passionate about ensuring that the vision was lived
and breathed by everyone and that the learning spaces reflected the
• We have an amazing opportunity in ChCh to create something special. I
truly believe that all the 'stakeholders' are keen to make this happen. I
feel very grateful that I was on this tour. I only wish everyone involved in
our merge could have had the same opportunity.
THOSE KEY WORDS
• Differentiated and student-centred learning.
• Accountable and empowered to collaborate
• De-privatising practice
• Open, inclusive and accessible
• Collaborative teaching
• No one correct plan
• Shared vision
• Dynamic and effective teaching model
• Demonstrating independence
• Outstanding, passionate, inspirational leadership
• Collaboratively formed vision
• Learning spaces reflected the vision.
WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE?
1. Dynamic, future-focused leadership
2. Clear articulation of a collaboratively developed and
owned vision, values and beliefs
3. Primary focus on the learner
4. Collaborative, de-privatised practice
5. Learning spaces reflect the vision
• How adequately do our learning
spaces cater for the type of
learning we are wanting our
children to experience?
• Do our current spaces work
against the things we’re trying
SCHOOL SPATIAL TYPOLOGIES
SCHOOL SPATIAL TYPOLOGIES
Source: Mary Featherstone
duration of activities?
documentation of activities?
what furniture, equipment, resources?
what services are required?
what surfaces are required?what floor, levels area?
ambience, climate control?
degree of enclosure?
Source: Mary Featherstone
MODERN LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS