A Haeata student gives her view on modern learning

Author Kimberley Baker, 12, a student at Haeata Community School, says the new school's Modern Learning Environments are ...
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF

Author Kimberley Baker, 12, a student at Haeata Community School, says the new school's Modern Learning Environments are helping everyone to learn, even if it takes some time to adjust.

OPINION: Three years ago when we knew some of our local schools would be closing, my school, Aranui Primary, started what was called "modern learning".

At first it was really weird and we didn't know what we were doing, but then the teachers got trained in modern learning.

Over three years we changed the way we learnt to the way that best suits us so we could self-manage, but not too much depending on how good you were at self-managing.

We had stages: Manager, Self-Managed, Self-Directed, and Self-Driven.

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Haeata Community Campus is an urban area school with about 950 students. Each age group has its own large classroom ...
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Haeata Community Campus is an urban area school with about 950 students. Each age group has its own large classroom space for about 300.

Manager was when you can kind of manage yourself but you need help from the teacher or someone else making sure you are on task.

Self-managed was when you can manage yourself and don't need supervision, you can do your work by yourself with help from the teacher.

Self-directed was when you can work anywhere in the school, you get a pass from the teacher so you can work out of class because you are trusted to stay on task and you can ask the teacher for help if you need it.

 

Self-driven was where you can work anywhere in the school and you basically can create your own work and tasks and come up with what you want to learn. The teacher can help you come up with a project if you need help. When making your project for independent learning you had to make a plan/proposal showing how and what you would learn.

I'm pretty sure that the self-driven stage is what they're trying to achieve at Haeata Community Campus, where I am now a student.

It took around three years at Aranui Primary school to get about half the class to self-managed and that was taking small steps and adding modern learning slowly.

Haeata Community Campus just before opening.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Haeata Community Campus just before opening.

To just put a whole bunch of people in a modern learning environment and expect them to be learning by themselves and self-management straightaway is kind of crazy.

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People might think it should be better but mostly everyone in the school is new to this style of learning.

A couple of years ago a school day would be going to different classes, working at desks and sitting in front of a teacher all day.

 

Now it's a lot different. On Mondays we first go to meet-up with the entire class and do a morning session, then we go to our Puna Ako group (home group) and do the roll, and then we stay in our Puna ako group for the first block until morning tea.

In Puna ako we have a lot of different optional tasks that we get to choose from depending on our main focus and interests. Then we go to our first block of Kaupapa Ako where we focus on our inquiry on the topic of our choice. We have to make a project and presentation that we sometimes share at a class exhibition of our work.

After this block there is lunch and then we go back to Kaupapa Ako. This is what happens on a typical Monday in my class (Korepo, years 7-10, ages 11-14). I don't know what goes on in the other buildings with different age students.

Prime Minister Bill English met some of the students at the ministerial opening of the Haeata Community Campus in March.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Prime Minister Bill English met some of the students at the ministerial opening of the Haeata Community Campus in March.

In my class there are 300 students in one building with six breakout rooms that we use as classrooms. I think we learn a lot but only if we try to learn and not mess around.

A few people have been just playing games in class time and because of that I'm pretty sure the sites for social media and all games were blocked. Hopefully, now the few people who weren't on task will start doing more work because now there aren't many things to distract them.

I think Haeata is a good school because everyone is learning, even if they don't know it. I think that some people are still getting used to the environment as it is a very different way of learning for many students.

 

I am a 12-year-old student and I think I'm doing better and getting used to it. It's just really different but I don't think it's a bad thing.

The modern learning environment isn't for everyone and some people left because they prefer the traditional learning environment and style.

My friend from last year and her family left in the first term because they wanted to back to the other way of learning and she said from the start that she only wanted to trial the style of learning herself before going to another school. I think a lot of other people did this to see if they liked this style of learning before they went to another school.

A junior room at Haeata Community Campus on opening day.
GEORGE HEARD/STUFF

A junior room at Haeata Community Campus on opening day.

I think if some of them had stayed it might have gotten better and easier – the first term was hard for everyone and we were adjusting.

I was very disappointed by The Press article on Saturday, September 2, and invite the reporter to spend some time to see how well the students are learning in class/working environment.

 - Stuff

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