Log in

Self directed learning in a MLE

Started by cathie zelas 20 Feb 2014 12:20pm () Replies (32)


We are currently having our school completely rebuilt as an MLE and are keen to explore ways to encourage self directed learning in our new environment. Does anyone know of good moels of practice in this area?




  • Lisa (View all users posts) 20 Feb 2014 8:27pm ()

    Hi Cathie

    we have been working this way for the last 2 years. It is so exciting and has taken a long time to get a model that works for us, adapting all the time. I work in a centre with 90 kids, 3 teachers - kids range from year 6-8. More than happy to share our earnings - prob best directly . Feel free to come and observe ! 

  • cathie zelas (View all users posts) 21 Feb 2014 10:30am ()

    Hi Lisa

    Thanks for you kind offer. Where abouts are you? We are in Chch.



  • Lisa (View all users posts) 23 Feb 2014 11:23am ()

    Hi Cathie

    We are in Palmerston North - I note you are in Halswell! I grew up in Templeton, ChCh, so know the area well. I'm sure we could arrange for something for either of us to visit each other.

    We work on a basis of students directing their own learning, timetabling, just as Neil, and students opting into their own workshops. Accountability is huge! I think the biggest change for everyone invovled, teachers included, is the amount ot learning we've all done, especially around long term planning, day to day planning and our assessment . We use goggle docs for everything, so we can collaboratively plan and assess and I often do a T chart about what we want/don't want/ what we have/ and what we want to get rid of. This is important to keep us focused on where we are going as a staff! Currently I am taking the staff through PD in MLE and what we want it to look like in our whole school aInd have joined the CORE education learning for the year.  I also have a team of 3 teachers who are developing our Yr 4-5 area in this way. 

    I am at Whakarongo School should you wish to look us up.

    It is an exciting time in education and the motivation and engagement from our kids and staff is huge! I certainly would never go back to teaching in a single cell classroom, after working with colleagues all the time.   

  • cathie zelas (View all users posts) 23 Feb 2014 1:15pm ()

    Hi lisa

    thanks for that? It sounds like you too are doing very much where we want to head. Wee are hoping to send some of our team leaders to vew examples of good practice in SDL around the country so a visit might be a go. How big is your school?  And I take it you currently only have part of your school working this way?

    How do you scaffold your students to develop the key competencies and skills needed to become increasingly self directed? We have visited Amesbury School in Wellington where they have a hierarchy of levels of independence with students setting goals for the level they are at and the higher the level the more choice they have over their learining. Do you have anything similar?  ( I'd be really interested in Neil's answer to this question too.



  • Neil Fraser (View all users posts) 20 Feb 2014 8:56pm ()

    Hi Cathie

    We have just changed all our learning environments to flexible open spaces this year. We have a strong development on self managment of learning from Years 1 - 8. We have some very basic strategies to give our Years 1-2 choices in their learning and slowly build this up Years 7-8 where they run their own timetables, book in for workshops and tutorials and have to meet all deadlines by timetabling their various commitments for the week.

    Not sure where you are - but happy for you to visit, or we can discuss via Skype and even have students run a quick presentaiton how they manage their learning.

    I will also try to catch up with Lisa.


  • Lisa (View all users posts) 23 Feb 2014 11:34am ()


    Sounds exactly the same as what we are doing. Love to share ideas or come and catch up with you guys. 

    We are always looking at ways to improve our Centre and as we build again (we are a rapidly growing school, so we have been lucky enough to build a new centre 2 years ago, and am about to build again!) 

    I'll be in touch

  • merryl (View all users posts) 20 Feb 2014 9:53pm ()

    Hi Neil

    Where would we find you if we were interested in learning more?


    Merryl McAllister

  • Neil Fraser (View all users posts) 20 Feb 2014 9:59pm ()

    Ngatea Primary School - principal@ngatea.school.nz or phone 07 8677305

  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 21 Feb 2014 8:05am ()

    Hi Cathie,

    I just stumbled upon this blog post! http://dailytechbytes.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/who-owns-the-learning/ This might be worth exploring!

    Anne K

  • Melody McC (View all users posts) 21 Feb 2014 8:21am ()

    Morning Lisa,


    We would be very keen to hear about what you are doing. We have 4 classes and an MLE environment. We are moving towards MLE pedagogy. :)

  • Lisa (View all users posts) 23 Feb 2014 11:32am ()

    Hi Melody

    Keen to pass on anything we are doing. I've noted that you are in CHCH as well as Cathie...I'm thinking a trip to CHCH might be a good PD opportunity :) As you'll see in my reply to Cathie we are well down the track and the school are moving in this way. I'm certainly not the expert but have been in the enviornment for 2 years and have found out the problems and the solutions over this time. I'm extremely passionate about what we are doing and am always looking for new ideas to implement, or to share. 

    I can be contacted on lwaterland@whakarongo.school.nz

  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 21 Feb 2014 9:14am ()

    Hi again,

    I have just read Mark's wonderful blog post on his word for the year "ownership" http://markherring.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/my-word-for-year.html.  May be worth checking out.  

    Anne K

  • cathie zelas (View all users posts) 21 Feb 2014 10:29am ()

    Hi Neil

    What you are doing sounds very exciting and exactly where our thinking is taking us. I will talk to the rest of our Lead Team next Tuesday and then be in touch.



  • Marnel van der Spuy (View all users posts) 23 Feb 2014 1:12pm ()

    Thank you for this discussion!

    Was wondering if it would be possible to also help the NE/Year1 MLE group out with your expertise.

    We are a group looking for people who are willing to share experiences, learning beliefs, any resources, tips, videos please.  

    Your ideas and input to help us develop a Junior School MLE resource to enhance learning experiences for our junior students would be greatly appreciated. 


    Thank you Smile

  • Julie Tumarae (View all users posts) 24 Feb 2014 7:33pm ()

    Hi All

    I am at Murupara Area School in the Bay of Plenty (nearly merged school).  We are moving into a MLE (possibly next year).  Our middle leaders are interested in viewing best practice in MLE including team teaching and what this may look like also ways to encourage self directed learning.

    We are very excited about this change.Smile

    We are keen to hear about what others are doing.


    Julie Tumarae

  • Fiona Matthews (View all users posts) 24 Feb 2014 7:46pm ()

    Hi Julie

    I have started team teaching this year in a years 3/4 in a MLE. Experiencing lots of positives and plenty of challenges! I don't know that we're 'best practise' yet, in fact we're just at the start of our journey, but we're real and we're working hard to set processes and expectations in our SLE. I'm happy to help out in any way.


    Matua school


  • Jacqui-Ellen Price (View all users posts) 24 Feb 2014 7:53pm ()

    Hi Fiona

    I am also working in a Flexible Learning Space/ MLE just up the road at Tauranga Primary!  Would be great to connect and share learning, as we are 2 teachers with 57 kids and also composite 3/4. If you are keen my email is jprice@tauranga.school.nz

     :) Jacq Price 

  • Lisa (View all users posts) 24 Feb 2014 7:46pm ()

    Sounds exciting Julie. I think the hardest thing for us was the fact we started with 90 Yr 7-8 kids and noone could help us in the planning etc as most schools only had a handful of students in each area. Happy to share what we are doing. 


  • Adele Lidgard (View all users posts) 24 Feb 2014 7:57pm ()

    Hi Julie - I am at Welcome Bay School in Tauranga.  Last year I was in a MLE with 56 children and 2 teachers; this year in a Year 5/6 MLE (bigger space than last year) with 74 children and 3 teachers.  We have made quite a lot of changes in pedagogy and organisation from last years experience.  This year there are two other MLE's at our school also - a NE/Reception and a Yr3/4.

    We are on a journey - certainly 'not there yet' - but I am more than happy to share anything of my experience and welcome any visitors too :)  Love to her from you.

    Can't imagine teaching any other way now and it appears to be making a big difference in student outcomes!



  • Karla Hull (View all users posts) 24 Feb 2014 8:05pm ()

    Hi.  We are in our second year of teaching in a collaborative, flexible learning environment.  (Ngatea Primary School).  Neil, our prinicipal has also replied to this post.  I teach collaborative with 2 other teachers and learning support staff.  Last year we had 93 years 7 & 8's, this year we have 84.  I love it and wouldn't want to go back to a single cell class!  We have 1-1 computing using google apps.  Each teacher focuses on particular curriculum areas that they have a real interest in.  As Neil has said, we are happy to share and welcome visitors :)  karla.hull@ngatea.school.nz

Join this group to contribute to discussions.