Sunday, 29 June 2014

MLE - follow this discussion - what the research tells us

New discussion post - MLE's and the evidence

New discussion post - MLE's and the evidence

Neill O'Reilly added a new discussion post to Modern Learning Environments:

MLE's and the evidence
Many people seem to be looking for the evidence that MLE's are the right way for the future.

To answer this question we need to define what we mean by an MLE. If we mean a space that has the basic MLE components of acoustic control, adequate lighting, digital access, heating and perhaps environmentally sustainable and space for learning then I am not sure we need any other evidence- it's a no brainer.

Now if we are talking about an MLE that has provision for more than one class and more than one teacher one could ask the question where is the evidence for what we currently have? The current provision of one class for 25 (or so) children has nothing at all to do with learning, pedagogy, research or any such thing. It is simply financial. When a school gets 25 children they are entitled to another classroom and a teacher. Welcome to NZ schools.

What is the evidence for an alternative? (say 2-6 classes in one space)

1. Hattie's research makes it clear that teacher collaboration is the key to improvement (2009)

2. Fullans work makes it clear teacher collaboration and de privatizing the classroom is the key to improvement (2009, 2014)

3. Elmore makes it clear that observing and being observed are the keys to improvement (2004)

4. Fielding and Nair, Prakash identify that the environment makes a significant difference to learning (2009)

5, Davila did some research and looked at comparisons between traditional single cell class and co-teaching ( the results were quite evident

6. Start looking into stories from teachers and the vast majority say it makes a difference to their competency and efficacy

There is so much more...

The time lost in transition each year ( I am making an assumption here that quality MLE's will have multi level age groups so that  a child can be in the environment for more than one year) as each new teacher spends time getting to know children ( I estimate that in a full primary school we lose 1 year of learning time to transition time)

Then there is the notion of multiple perspectives on the curriculum. This I have to do more research on, but consider the teachers who did not make learning occur for you at school. Now if you had access to more than one teacher (and their perspective on learning) then you have the opportunity for multiple perspectives on the curriculum and improved probability of learning

Then there is teaching to my strength and...

learning from my colleagues and...

having another adult in the room to problem solve with (and stop me going crazy)and...

opportunity to talk about that child who is not 'getting it'

then there is the strength of collective expectations and support for learning (especially the KC's)

Not to mention the understanding that we are no longer teaching children for the industrial age and we know so much more about children's brain development that we would not want them in a 67 sqm room with one teacher.

The evidence to me is that living in 2014 how can we continue to teach children in spaces and ways that reflect 1914, 1964 even 1984. The world has changed so dramatically, schools have not. They need to. The evidence is in the world around us, in our communication, workforce, social networking, past times, travel, life styles....

MLE's are really just TLE's - 'Todays Learning Environments'. If we design them well and in a flexible manner then we might just be designing MLE's.

Wow! Exciting times Christchurch!!

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