A student's' perspective on the benefits of Exchange

Published: Monday 26 September 2016

As an aspiring educator amidst the crowd full of coffee saturated Architects, the Melbourne Exchange conference was the perfect platform to ignite Ashleigh Webb's newfound passion for cultivating positive learning environments.

Amidst the crowd full of coffee saturated Architects found at the Melbourne Exchange Conference (held in May this year), lay a very ignorant student teacher. Already confused by the rather exuberant City that is Melbourne (and very clearly not Perth) I found myself being further confused as to what I could possibly offer to so many established professionals.

Turns out, I couldn’t offer all that much. But I could offer a different perspective. Not yet a teacher, but not quite a student I felt very much at ease contemplating both sides to the education coin toss. Throughout the duration of the Conference delegates considered how a better exchange of information across education, design and government could be undertaken in order to create more meaningful learning environments for education communities. A series of site tours explored various design theories and their complementing pedagogies.

During the site tours I had abundant opportunities to converse with a variety of architects and diplomats. Reflecting on these conversations it became apparent that the exchange of information between professions seemed to be something many yearned for, but found difficult to attain.

I also had the pleasure of touring some of Australia’s most forward thinking education designs. Mentone Grammar School was one such pleasure. At Mentone the Year 9 students enter their own Year 9 precinct to build community and independence. Throughout the tour the Principal of Mentone Grammar School and the design team explained how the goals of the building were being achieved though the school’s pedagogy and the building's design theory.

As an aspiring educator the opportunity to converse with other education experts, be they architects, diplomats or teachers was incredible. My understanding of the impact a learning environment has on a learning community has grown exponentially and the Melbourne Exchange was the perfect platform to ignite my newfound passion for cultivating positive learning environments.

Ashleigh Webb
Education Student,
The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, WA

Photo of Mentone Grammar School by Ashleigh Webb