4. Children with learning difficulties and the move to Innovative Learning Environments

John Everatt1*,Jo Fletcher1

  1. University of Canterbury, New Zealand

 

Abstract

This paper discusses the perceptions of 283 New Zealand primary school principals and teachers about flexible learning spaces (Innovative Learning Environments), and the changes in pedagogical practices and classroom environments that these lead to, particularly in regard to outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics. Statements were general to all learners, but focused on struggling learners (students with learning difficulties), and targeted primary school educators given the importance of early learning for acquiring literacy and mathematics. An online questionnaire was distributed to both teachers and principals given their different influences on learning environments, management and teaching practices/interactions. Results indicated generally positive views of flexible learning spaces, though this varied with experience/professional development. Positive views were also less evident for questions related to low progress learners, suggesting that although New Zealand educators can see the benefits of flexible learning spaces, they seem more cautious about the value for those with learning problems.

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Keywords:          Innovative Learning Environments; New Zealand primary school; reading, writing and mathematics; struggling learners / learning difficulties; questionnaire responses; experience/professional development.

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