This includes recognizing that teamwork and critical thinking skills are improved when students are given the opportunity to pair off into groups to further discuss and examine concepts they have covered in depth during the lesson. This allows learners of different levels of readiness to engage and learn in ways that are personalized and individually benefit them.
“We found that although advanced technology was being integrated into learning and our teachers were finding new and innovative ways to engage today’s social learners, the physical structure of the traditional classroom was restrictive,” says Lisa Duranleau, Executive Director of MacLachlan College. “By investing in the new Node chairs and Verb furnishings, our classrooms and open learning spaces have been transformed into 21st-Century learning hubs quickly, effectively and economically, drastically improving the learning environment.”
At MacLachlan, the living systems philosophy is ingrained in all aspects of the academic and co-curricular program through the seamless integration of technology and the new innovative classroom furnishings. The Node chairs and Verb systems, developed by Steelcase, allow for flexible spaces that promote and cultivate an environment of open interaction and communication throughout the classroom.
Recognizing that teaching and learning has moved away from direct instruction to a more student-centered and teacher-facilitated approach, MacLachlan’s new classrooms encourage independence and support flexible teaching by allowing teachers to move from group learning, to one-on-one or small group instruction. This also enables teachers to differentiate their instruction to fit the needs of each student and answer any questions students may be uncomfortable asking in a formal classroom setting. These adaptive and dynamic learning environments enable students and teachers to collaborate, innovate and connect existing knowledge to new ideas.
Studies have shown that the integration of active learning systems enables students to take the theoretical knowledge they have learned and immediately apply and adapt it, fostering a deeper level of understanding and critical thinking skills.
MacLachlan’s innovative active learning approach to education develops not only engaged lifelong learners but globally-minded, critical thinkers, who are able to transcend the classroom setting to apply learning to all facets of their life.
Health, Wellness and Physical Education
As advocates of the active learning and living system approach, MacLachlan recognizes the significance of health, wellness and physical activity in creating and promoting global and well-rounded individuals. The tenants of active learning can not only be incorporated in the classroom through collaboration, and integration but on the playing field as well.
At MacLachlan, we understand that learning happens best when students are motivated, engaged, healthy and challenged in a safe and supportive environment. We also understand that a healthy mind and body is critical to student success. Incorporating Mindful Practice as a way to reduce stress and encourage focus throughout the learning process is another way we help our students achieve success. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present by bringing a quality of self-awareness to our body and life experience. To support Mindfulness in the classroom, staff participate in professional development to introduce the concept and guide our students to focus attention through awareness of the present moment.
The integration of ideas and open communication can be further explored to build and ensure a sense of belonging and community amongst both students and faculty. Creating classrooms and school environments where students are a part of a community allows teachers to help students feel valued in their school experiences and, as a result, students feel more motivated to do well academically. Sports cultivate teamwork and leadership skills, as well as the importance of goal setting and the need to work hard to those goals that extend beyond academics.
As a member of the Private School’s Athletic Association (PSAA), school teams compete with other independent schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area in a variety of sports including: soccer, baseball, basketball, track and field, volleyball, cross-country running and floor hockey. Students are encouraged to participate in both intramurals and school teams as physical activity aids in the development of vital skills, builds confidence and is a great way to relieve stress and feel good, both physically and mentally.