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The Innovative Learning Environment in New Zealand: Supporting Teacher Transition

The surge of teachers transitioning to innovative learning environments (ILEs), together with the knowledge that teachers have a large impact on student achievement, has prompted this study. Shifts to ILEs are supported by the Ministry of Education (2014b) building policy and aspirations for 21st Century learners (Ministry of Education, 2007; Partnership for 21st Century Learning, 2016). However, very little guidance exists to aid successful transition. Thus, this study adopts an interpretive, case study approach and uses mixed methods to examine the key question of how teachers can be supported to transition from single-cell classrooms to ILEs. The experiences of six New Zealand-based intermediate teachers are examined in detail. They see a need for transition processes to include all staff, regardless of the physical environment in which they teach. Feedback suggests transitions should be based on a whole-school vision that aligns with the principles of modern learning practice (MLP). A need for school management to lead the process and ensure systems are aligned to enable desired pedagogy is also emphasised. Well-planned professional learning development (PLD) grounded in dialogic sense-making can be personalised and can include a focus on interpersonal skills, MLP and developing student agency. The careful selection of teaching teams, and the implementation of evaluation systems to monitor the impacts of MLP and the physical environment, are also key to successful transition. When transition includes ILE design, architects and practitioners must work closely together to create a well-designed physical space that fosters desired practice. Findings from this study can be used to inform transition processes for policy makers, school leaders and practitioners.
Type of thesis
Jensen, R. J. (2019). The Innovative Learning Environment in New Zealand: Supporting Teacher Transition (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12710
The University of Waikato
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