Haeata Community Campus – Authentic Learning in Years 7–13
Haeata Community Campus is a year 1–13 co-educational campus in the Christchurch suburb of Aranui/Wainoni which opened in early 2017. Haeata brought four closing school communities together to form a new and unique community campus. It was ‘designed to transform and reinvigorate the network of education provision in eastern Christchurch’. The school offers flexible learning spaces including large open spaces and smaller break out rooms, allowing students to learn in groups, work with their peers, or learn independently. The school has been designed to accommodate 1200 students. The current roll is 780.
Haeata’s vision has as one of its central documents, five essential agreements:
- Te Ao Māori;
- Communication fluency;
- Intrapersonal skills;
- Transdisciplinary learning.
Staff, whānau and ākonga all contributed to this vision which has students taking increasing control of their own learning. This meant that the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) had a clear vision for learning design from the outset. This learning design requires high levels of ākonga self-management, clear expectations for all, a framework of support, and a robust programme of professional development for kaiako.
The Haeata learning dispositions – compassion, collaboration, designing, fa'aaloalo (respect), contributing, resilience, rangatiratanga (self-management) are a key focus in student personal learning plans.
- be actively involved in their learning;
- love learning for learning’s sake;
- leave with the skills they need to lead successful lives.
Impact of space on pedagogy
Haeata are associated with The University of Melbourne and the Innovative Learning and Teacher Change Project (ILETC). The SLT are beginning to understand the impact of different learning environments on student and teacher activity and behaviour. Early initiatives indicate student and teacher activity and behaviour can be altered by the manipulation of space and associated expectations.
Reflecting on 2017 and the first part of 2018, SLT realised that the opportunities for innovative learning design and delivery, provided by the physical spaces at Haeata have not yet been fully realised. Teaching and learning looked much the same in all spaces with the exception of the designated makerspace. It was therefore clear to the team that a more strategic approach to their use of physical spaces was required. The team reflected on student agency and choice, and the opportunities that arose from the strategic combination of the teachers’ skills and experience. It was decided to designate each space for a particular function – workshopping, conferencing, individual study, and direct instruction - with clear expectations for teachers and their roles in the new spaces.
The Haeata team also identified that in order to realise their vision for authentic student-led learning and to leverage these opportunities the obvious next step was to align the curriculum for years 7–13.
Curriculum Alignment Years 7-13
The SLT put together a curriculum alignment plan for years 7–13. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Student learning resulting from the change is structured in the following way:
- Years 7–10 focus on kaupapa that begin with workshops offered by kaiako and which lead students into their own inquiries;
- Years 11–13 focus on student-directed inquiries (projects) based on personal interests and passions;
- Some Years 11–13 students focus on kaiako-directed packages of learning we call korowai.
Our Haeata Inquiry process is intended to underpin all learning and consists of the following parts:
Awaken.. (..our curiosity): front loading, immersing, and connecting to ideas
Navigate.. (..our way): questioning, targeting, provoking
Explore.. (.. and discover): searching for answers, investigating, experimenting, connecting ideas
Shine .. (act, communicate, create): my ideas and my thinking
Learning reflects the kaupapa with most students in years 7–10 experiencing an open-ended programme of workshops and independent learning using an inquiry based approach. Learning may be more (or less) teacher directed, adapting to the needs and pace of individual students. Teachers are encouraged to use their own skills and interests in particular fields to ‘awaken curiosity’ in students.
Students in years 11–13 have a range of opportunities depending on their own needs, strengths and interests. They can choose to learn in a more structured, teacher directed programme, or a more flexible, self-designed project learning based approach. In practice, student programmes of learning may include both options. Currently, more and more students are designing their own programmes and it is anticipated in the future all senior students will follow this option as they become more adept at self-managing. The school’s SMS can provide information about ‘curriculum balance’ in this aspirationally self-directed design.
Assessment, primarily NCEA assessment, and timetable are often cited as barriers to change in secondary education. These have also undergone transformation at Haeata. Teachers are currently learning the principles of narrative assessment to capture evidence of learning. Teachers are now moving towards using the opportunities provided by NCEA to combine and curate achievement standards that can be linked to this evidence of learning. According to the Principal, the Haeata timetable is not for grouping students, and directing them to their learning in ways we have been used to. The timetable allows ākonga to take increasing responsibility for designing their own learning plans and goals. It also allows us to structure staff non-contact time.
Haeata has been in operation for less than two years. During this time the leadership, staff, and students have been working together to identify what works and what needs improving. The SLT has identified the following actions as key supports for enabling change.
- Have stakeholder agreed values, vision, and direction for learning;
- Provide a range of opportunities for the community, staff, and students to engage with the vision for learning and understand why change is necessary;
- Evaluate all proposed changes and decisions for their contribution to agreed values, vision and direction for learning;
- Demonstrate alignment of curriculum delivery and pedagogy in documentation and in practice in every hapori (learning community);
- Recognise that challenges to practice are hard for staff, but being uncompromising in holding onto the vision;
- Be resolute that everyone in the Haeata ‘waka’ is going in the same direction;
- Provide frameworks of support and professional development for staff;
- Be aware that change can also be hard for students by providing opportunities for dialogue;
- Recognise that regular monitoring, reflection, and evidence-based review and evaluation are essential parts of any change process.