Learning in an MLE – students respond to ‘that article’.

I have to admit, I wasn’t that surprised to read about how some teachers are hugely resistant to change. MLE’s are a scary proposition for those that think we still live in the same world that existed when we ourselves were students. As I reflected on this, I thought who better to ask than my students. For it is these students that have experience learning in both a traditional classroom and a modern learning environment. It is these students who are best qualified to talk about such matters, rather than students who have only been taught in a traditional classroom rather than in an MLE (as per the article).

If you haven’t read the article yet, click the link below:


I sent this article to three of my students and asked them to collaborate on a response. Below is what they had to say:

“Top schools give multi-million dollar classrooms a fail grade” is an article by Laura Walters and it is based on the opinion of keeping New Zealand’s schools a traditional setup. We are three year 10 students from a small town called Kawerau. Our school has recently been updated from the traditional setup to the modern learning environment. So far we’re finding that the modern learning environment is a lot more beneficial for the students as well as the teachers. One of the main highlights of our modern learning environment are the breakout rooms, spread out among the commons. They allow certain lessons to be taught, separate from the main lesson, with no outside distractions. Students attention can be directed at the teacher or student who is doing the teaching. Also, the different options of moveable furniture contribute to the way students learn. Essentially, if you’re more comfortable during class, you’re more likely to learn. David Hodge says, “It is good to have students think outside the box, but they have to have the box to start with. One is left to wonder if one powerful motivation is that it is simply a lot cheaper to build an open plan barn than a more traditional school.” After being in an “open plan barn” for the past few months, we feel that our creativity and independent thinking skills have increased compared to when we were taught in a ‘box’. At first, the modern learning environment was very challenging and difficult to get use to, but we know why that is now. For years, school has always been the same, teachers have basically “spoon fed” their students and they have not taught them how to be independent learners and how to self-manage. You may not think it’s a big deal, but think about the real world. Teachers should be preparing their students for reality, but if you look at the traditional schooling setup, you’ll notice that it doesn’t prepare us at all. Reality is that when you leave school you need to be able to self-manage, but how will students do that when, for their whole life, they’ve been “spoon fed” from the educational system. Creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. These are the four main skills our teachers want us to learn by the time we graduate from high school. The inquiry process involves a lot of these skills. This is essentially a self-directed project, where we have the freedom to choose an issue from around the world, that we are interested in learning about. Being able to choose what we want to work on makes school a lot more interesting and enjoyable. Our new environment also makes it easier to learn in this way. Take it from our point of view, we’re experiencing the modern learning environment first hand and we’ve found it’s definitely more beneficial for this generation’s way of life and our futures.

~Oceania Martin, Olivia Savage, Amaris Wi