Uni students go back to school for inspiration

Lindfield Learning Village students have helped up-and-coming architects re-imagine the design of future education, writes Pascal Adolphe.

12 May 2021
A group of students standing and talking
Image: Grassroots tuition: UTS architecture postgraduates discuss their ideas with Lindfield Learning Village students.

Lindfield Learning Village students gained a valuable insight into university education while helping university architecture students with feedback on the progress of their final design projects.

Lindfield Learning Village principal Stephanie McConnell said University of Technology Sydney academics had approached her to present a guest lecture for the UTS architecture postgraduates on the educational model at the school.

“The student architects have been researching and designing future-focused learning spaces,” Ms McConnell said.

Their official brief was to come up with a vision for a “new typology of school” where “students have the autonomy and agency to engage in learning that is distributed ubiquitously throughout the community – and where outdoor learning and play is encouraged”.

The UTS students were keen to get feedback from Lindfield Learning Village whose model of education seemed to best fit the aspirations of the brief.

Ms McConnell said she was approached by the UTS architecture faculty to allow their students to present their works in progress at Lindfield Learning Village "in order to see our spaces and get student feedback on their designs”.

Following the recent visit, UTS architecture student Matte McConnell said the project aimed to reimagine schooling; “to do it in a different way than the current model that caters for one type of student”.

“We wanted to create learning spaces where a diverse cohort of students can thrive; spaces that can suit different learning styles,” Mr McConnell said.

Mr McConnell said one of the main design elements of future schools was pushing learning spaces into the neighbourhood community and not having them on one site with a fence around them.

“The Lindfield students provided us with another lens on our proposals,” he said.

“They were very excited by the proposal and liked the idea of taking schooling out into the neighbourhood and community and to not be so siloed.”

Lindfield Learning Village Year 9 student Phoebe Ballentyne said the UTS students’ visit was “cool” because the Lindfield students “got to see firsthand what they were doing at the uni”.

“It was important to see what it was actually like to be a university student,” Phoebe said.

“The teachers and students seemed to be at the same level when they talk to each other.”

Phoebe said it was also important for Lindfield students to provide feedback on the progress of their designs that would help shape the “finished product”.

“We sat and absorbed the information and then it was more like a conversation than criticism,” she said.

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