Video transcript – Killarney Heights Public School supporting dynamic learning

Vicki Johnson, Killarney Heights PS:
At Killarney Heights Public School we are enabling teachers to pilot an innovative classroom learning environment to foster our students' skills and capabilities for today and tomorrow.

Student 1:
Our flexible learning environment is like a classroom but it's got different setup, it's got different furniture and different ways of learning, and like you move around freely and choose where you want to sit which is most likely why it's called a flexible learning environment. And, so, the main reason our class has this environment is so we can learn four main skills: critical thinking, creativeness, communication, and collaboration.

Karl Liessmann, Classroom Teacher:
If you're viewing from the outside, you would see lots of the students not necessarily always interacting with the teacher but interacting with other people around them and other groups around them. Quite often we have teachers coming in to observe the classes and one great thing that I've actually noted is that the students don't often look up at the teachers that are coming into the classroom and wave hello, they're too engaged in their task to worry about what's going on around them. Already I'm starting to see students becoming more independent and valuing skills like communication and collaboration. Already I've seen students moving away from finding me or tracking me down and asking me questions to actually moving on to other students and questioning those students before coming and asking me or trying to solve the problem themselves before seeking help from other people.

James Hull, Classroom Teacher:
With a new learning environment there were some initial challenges that needed to be overcome to maximise student engagement. Originally I had been experimenting with flexible learning on my mainstream standard classroom furniture and I built up a rapport with my students throughout the year so that when we entered that flexible learning space they knew my expectations they knew what the classroom setting was meant to look like and they took ownership and responsibility for their learning quite well.

Student 2:
Flexible learning environment is a classroom that is very different to a normal everyday classroom as it enables kids to sit wherever they want and with whoever they want.

James Hull, Classroom Teacher:
I've always encouraged my students to ask questions and in the past I feel as though I would offer those answers quite freely and willingly to the classroom. In my new classroom setting I feel as though I've got the ability to give students the opportunity to seek these answers in their own way.

Student 3:
My favourite piece of furniture is probably the white board desks. It's more easy to enjoy yourself and you can still have fun while you're learning things.

Pauhla Hill, parent:
I think the four words it would teach them independence, confidence, belief in themselves, self belief and future skills. I do believe that my son works very well with that style of learning where he's allowed to think for himself.

Karl Liessmann, Classroom Teacher:
My role has changed dramatically in the classroom. I think now I'm seen more as facilitator as opposed to a teacher who stands at the front and is delivering information to the students. I feel now that I'm moving around the class a lot more and actually understanding my students and the levels they're performing at a lot better than when I was delivering information to 30 odd bodies in the classroom.

Pauhla Hill, parent:
Well when I first walked into the class it was entirely different from every other class in the school. I particularly loved all the open space. The furniture was bright and colourful. It appeared to be very adaptable. It's great from that aspect. I like the fact that they can all move around, they can either work in groups or on their own, beautiful colours, and very welcoming space made me feel very comfortable.

Susan Tickle, Deputy Principal:
We're very lucky in that we have a very enthusiastic and amazing staff here at Killarney and we've already been through a big process of change with the way we differentiate in mathematics. However what we're doing is really working on the culture of the school to be a learning environment for everybody. Not just the students and the teachers and certainly in the leadership of the school, we have very high expectations. We also value professional dialogue and we use evidence based research to ensure that we have informed practise and make informed decisions and we're using our teachers in the space as mentors and we're celebrating the successes that they have as well as having lots of professional learning, lots of conversations. What we're actually finding now is that other teachers within the school even some that were reticent and a little bit adverse to the change are spending some time in these rooms talking to the teachers in the pilot programme which is fantastic.

End of transcript

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