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International Day of Education with Amy Leong

Community, Country, Education, Industry Type, New Zealand

Jan 23, 2023

Community, Interviews, News Article

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Working in the educational space can be a demanding yet rewarding job. Ensuring that the needs and well-being of all students and staff are prioritised, is a constant balancing act. While it is easier for adults to find ways to communicate in busy spaces, students can find it harder to express themselves. On top of this, the range of needs each student can have is so broad that their environments need to give them a platform to succeed.


The physical makeup of a classroom, library or hall is one factor that plays an important role in how effective an educational space can be. The learning environment needs to be both acoustically balanced and visually engaging to create an effective learning environment. To learn more about this we sat down with Amy Leong, a primary school teacher, who gives an insight into what it is like to work in a modern classroom.

Why do you enjoy teaching?


I have always wanted to be a Teacher as I love to see children learn and progress. I get real satisfaction from seeing where they have come from and what they have achieved. This has developed over my career and I am now really interested in anything educational based. I want to be able to help not just my students but my school and others to positively grow. 


How do poor acoustics impact your teaching?


Classrooms are a noisy space. Think of having music on at a medium level. Now times that by 25. Every child wants to be heard so the noise levels can get wild at times. This can make it difficult for me to get the attention of students and hear what they have to say.


How do poor acoustics impact your students?


Acoustics are becoming more and more of a priority in the classroom. There are a range of behavioural and learning needs that need to be catered to. It is our priority to be sensitive and respond to our students’ needs.


Does your school prioritise acoustics within a classroom?


This is definitely an area that is becoming more of a focus. We are the oldest school in Auckland still on its original site. This means that there are some historic buildings that need to be brought up to speed when it comes to acoustics. There are a wide range of areas we need to focus on when it comes to classroom set up and so it is a matter of managing those. This isn’t an issue restricted to just our school either as schools across the country will be looking at the acoustics of their classrooms, halls and libraries.

Do you think students can notice the acoustics of a space?


Students can definitely notice the difference in spaces. On any given day a student could be in a classroom, the library or even the hall. For example they know that the hall is a space for louder events and more people to occupy while the library is a quiet space for focus.  


How important is it for classrooms to be visually engaging for students?


Incredibly so. However, there needs to be a balance. You want the kids excited about their classroom but not so over stimulated that they can’t engage in their work. What the classroom provides students with is an opportunity to take pride in and look after something. Having their work on display is a great way to promote their achievements.


How have classrooms changed over your career so far?


I’ve been teaching for six years now and in that period modern learning environments were being introduced to schools across New Zealand. Traditionally single cell classrooms have groups of 20 – 30 students while a modern learning environment will have over 45 depending on the size of the classroom. The acoustics in these two environments would need to be entirely different due to the number of students and physical layout.


How have teaching expectations or priorities changed over your career? 


The expectations are the same within the educational space but the dynamics of the kids have changed. I feel like Covid had a big impact on this as students were not used to being in the classroom, having people constantly around them, and missed the structure of learning. We want students to want to come back to school as it is a comfortable and friendly environment. Our focus is ensuring that the environment we create prioritises the overall well-being of every student.

Community, Country, Education, Industry Type, New Zealand

Jan 23, 2023

Community, Interviews, News Article

Share news

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