Innovative learning environments
Gisborne’s Campion College is building new learning spaces that will allow students to learn in a collaborative environment. The concept is called innovative learning environments – large, flexible spaces that allow for varying sized student groups and collaborative teaching.
“The traditional secondary school classrooms, where one teacher teaches to a class of 25 students, is an approach to schooling that was best suited to the way students were taught some years ago.
Now there is greater emphasis on ensuring that all students are able to learn at their own pace and not at the pace of the class. This encourages students who find the learning easy to go to deep levels in their learning and for other students who find the learning difficult to get more intensive support,” explains college principal Paul McGuinness.
The three new learning centres being built by local company Currie Construction will replace a total of 16 classrooms with associated offices and storage rooms.
Construction commenced in term four, 2016. The first section of the rebuild took place before any existing buildings were removed.
This allowed the College to continue to accommodate all students on site without interruption to their current programme, says Paul.
The classrooms are replacing three two-storied blocks which Paul says had reached the end of their useful life.
The two-storey blocks had been part of the College for over 50 years with two of the blocks being constructed when the College first opened as Edmund CCampion College in 1960 and the third block being constructed in 1973 to cater for the girls when they joined from St Mary’s College.
“The three blocks all required significant earthqua ke strengthening and it was good timing to replace them, as we looked to future proof the buildings in the College,” explains Paul.
He says the new blocks will provide paces where students can have quiet time, areas that enhance social learning and spaces where students can work on extension activities or be given extra support in their learning.
The spaces are designed to be flexible with good acoustics and good access to digital connectedness. The new innovative learning spaces can accommodate up to 75 students and four teachers.
“There are areas in the space that encourage students to work together on projects, other areas where groups of students can receive teacherdirected instruction or where small groups can engage in deep discussions with the teacher and spaces where a student can work without distraction on their own.
“There are also advantages for teachers where one teacher can focus on a small group of students while others manage the wider group learning. Teachers also have the benefit of learning from each other as they model to their colleagues teaching techniques that have proven highly effective in their teaching practice,” Paul says.
Apart from the classrooms the school is also upgrading the library and guidance centre.
The projects are earmarked for completion in March 2018. Paul says that the new classroom blocks will complement the changes in teaching and learning that are currently being put in place in the College.
“At Campion we are putting in place an educational curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of 21st century learners and that fits the culture of our community.”