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MLE in small schools

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Started by Catherine Swney 18 Aug 2015 2:44pm () Replies (3)

Hi there

We are a small rural school (50 children) and we are starting our MLE journey. I am looking for advice in regards to turning two of our classrooms (a year 7/8 class) and a Year 3-6 class into one MLE.  (The plans that I have received from architect show a large room with one break out room in the middle.) I am wondering whether the range of ages/maturity and academic levels of this group might be difficult to manage in this type of environment. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of scenario? Most of what I read relates to much smaller ranges than what I am dealing with. Any and all advice appreciated!


  • Chris Meehan (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2015 4:40pm ()

    Our not so small school of 170ish is working to establish more clever learning environments (as opposed to calling it MLE). In our senior school of 90 Year 5-8 students, we are into our second week of working across three classrooms which are not joined in any way, with three teachers and one TA whom we have with us for 3 mornings a week.

    We did quite a bit of scaffolding with the children across this group, by first completing an inquiry unit together last term where students selected groups for actions. This allowed them to get used to being with a wider age range, also getting used to being with their own brothers and sisters for quite a few. This seems to be something which bothers parents quite a bit, but moving slowish has made it easier.

    Last week was our first week at full on collaboration across the board, and we are working with 2 teachers teaching in one classroom which is quite a bit bigger than the other two, while the other teacher is a Coach with the TA, managing the other 2 classrooms for the whole morning. There are guidelines about being supported, self managing or self regulated learners, and one of the spare classrooms is always the quiet work room. 

    A bonus to this is the use of Google Sites for planning together and we share the site with the students. It took a bit of trial and error to learn how to manage the site, but even after one week, we are feeling pretty pleased with it. Using Hapara TD is also great and now being able to use Hapara Workspace is adding more power for us.

    At our hui today, we did a quick PMI on the first week, and there were very positive vibes from the kids already. Most in the minus column were to do with noise in the not so quiet work room, or younger children back chatting the older ones when they were asked to quieten down - respect!

    It is fun and the teachers while working incredibly hard, are all feeling positive and engaged in being better every day.

  • Rob Gunn (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2015 8:54pm ()


    My personal belief is that yes it can be achieved. However based on your description I am making an assumption that the following has not been done. I would ask you to reflect on your starting point. You start talking about architect and plans. Have you had any discussions around the type of learning outcomes you are trying to create? Many discussions are had around the physical space being one of the last considerations.

    While we are a bigger school our journey began with this discussion and we went from there in a wide variety of ways including ways we teach, developing student agency and re-evaluating our KC approach, heaps of reflecting. We are only now looking at building but are at the stage where our walls are now in the way of what we want to achieve.

    ps. this is the short version :)

    Just a thought.

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