Leaders Supporting the Transition for Teachers Into Innovative Learning Environments
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Primary schools within New Zealand are changing, and the way that teachers deliver the curriculum is becoming more innovative and creative, leading to the introduction of Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs). The Ministry of Education (n.d.) states that “a learning environment includes the physical, social, and pedagogical context in which learning occurs” (para.1). An ILE makes teaching and learning collaborative, teaching practice is shared and reflected upon regularly, and schools are continuously improving teaching practice in order to improve student outcomes (Osborne, 2013). This study investigated the leadership support given to teachers who are transitioning from a single-cell classroom to an ILE. It investigated five participants, both the leaders’ and the teachers’ experiences and knowledge through this transition. A qualitative case study approach was employed for my research in order to gather data about an under-researched topic in the New Zealand primary school context. The method of data collection for this qualitative study was semi-structured interviews. The participants were selected using informed and voluntary consent. The findings identified four key themes: • Teachers and leaders need to have a choice and be willing to move into an ILE from a single-cell classroom. • Teacher and leaders should be given ongoing professional development before and during their transition into an ILE. • Collaboration is a key factor in having a successful transition and an effective team in an ILE. • Key barriers and challenges that contribute to the transition for teachers in an ILE are logistics and resistance to change. Based on the analysis, recommendations at a leadership level, teacher level and policy level including recommendations for further research are suggested.