Sunday 20 September 2015

3 out of 4 learning terms completed : gathering feedback to go forward

A recent article in eSchool News captures the potential of learning spaces that enable holistic development for all learners. "We have a responsibility to foster each student’s inherent genius and draw out his or her natural brilliance while maximising emotional growth."

Our Engaging Learning Spaces (ELS) for 2015  are a move away from traditional classrooms to more fully address our learning goal : To engage every learner in deep learning for success. 

We are about to finish our third term with ELS. As a staff, we are teaching inside an authentic, living inquiry. We are continually reflecting, discussing and implementing small changes and improvements along the way. As we prepare for Term 4 and for 2016, we remain open to further feedback from students and parents to ensure we maintain a balanced approach to our ELS's. 

We have already received feedback from over one hundred educators visiting our ELS's this year. The most recent group of principals from Otago Southland shared their thoughts via "post it" notes. 

This week, I will be gathering feedback from students. I will be involving the voice of our learners. What is it like to be a learner in this hub ? What's going well to engage you in learning and what could be improved ?

Parents are invited to email their responses to the following questions directly to

1. What has worked well to engage your child in their learning this year ?

2. What's not going well ? Keep in mind the benefits of being solution focused. If you believe something is not going well, support your feedback with a suggested solution for improvement.

3. Any further comments

Staff have already begun to complete a similar document with their own feedback. We will be supporting this with achievement data.

All feedback, will be collated, shared and contribute to our next steps going forward.

An earlier blog entitled :
Are you willing to create disturbance and be disturbed yourself ? shared a message from a visiting professor. "We can all benefit from the ability to challenge and be challenged. We need to be willing to disturb and be disturbed - to make people stop and think aloud, talk and innovate at all levels. We can use difference to challenge and stimulate reflection that can grow practice for all learners."


  1. Levi has benefited enormously from the skiing programme.
    I have to admit that the jury was out for me on whether it would have any negative impact on his learning.
    Much to my surprise, I have found the situation to be the polar opposite. Is it the combination of treating the body in its entirity? Body, spirit, mind. Levi has never been more engaged with his learning, he talks about school work, across most of his subjects in a manner that he has never done before. The physical activity at the start of the week, the confidence of learning and mastering something in an extreme environment, the concepts of individual responsibility and the huge focus and concentration required to complete a day on the slopes have been a master stroke for Levi.

  2. My children have o key benefitted from the ELS style of learning. All three of them regularly come home and share their learning. This has been especially noticeable with my Year 5 child, who always enjoyed school but never wanted to discuss anything she had learned or encountered through the day. Technology is a big draw card for her. A negative if this is that we have had some issues with her accessing and creating her own you tube account at school and posting a video of her and her friends. This was addressed well by her teacher, but I've had to keep on top of her school Internet use, which I do as I have her emails and messages sent to my phone as well. My younger two children love Discovery and rave about it. I love that this style of learning caters to pretty much every individual way that children may learn. I've been a fan of this from the start and continue to support the school with their ongoing endeavours with ELS. The ski program has been a treat as well. Yes, they got a day off school each week, but they have learned that their bodies can do so much more than they knew, not to mention how amazing it has been for their minds and souls as well as their fitness. Thanks for the opprotunities that you present my kids at St Josephs.

  3. Thank you both Katrina and Melissa for taking the time to post your informative feedback. We have received other feedback via email and will share the outcomes and next steps with all of you very soon.