Learning by Design


A new learning precinct at A.B. Paterson College, named ‘The Winton Centre’ will open its doors on July 1. This is learning with a difference – a project that is leading the way with the art and science of teaching. ORM found out more…



Teaching has existed in many forms for thousands of years and, in reality, the design of many classrooms has not changed a great deal from the time of the early Greek philosophers. Research has clearly identified the factors that aid the learning process. One of the most important factors is the nature of the engagement between the teacher and the student. This key relationship and the nature of the engagement between the two are indeed critical to learning outcomes.

Contemporary learning, however, requires so much more.
In preparing young people for the myriad of roles they will be called upon to fulfil in the future, they need to be able to exploit and utilise a range of contemporary learning skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking to name but a few. This leaves the question as to whether the engagement between the teacher and student, and between student and student, truly aids in the development of these critical skills.

In order to ensure that these skills are taught and practiced in an authentic and contextual manner, there must be a deliberate and specific planning of methodology, and the engagement to ensure that these skills are explored.

One area that many schools fail to consider in their planning is the nature and design of the learning environment and its impact on student engagement. Many schools undertake refurbishments to improve the look of their facilities, but ask them about the science and planning behind classroom design and you may get a very limited response.

The Learning process is both an Art and a Science. It is for this reason that we have developed the pedagogy called ‘Teaching for Understanding’ – not just teaching for knowledge acquisition, but rather teaching for something intrinsically more meaningful, lasting and impactive – ‘Understanding’. We examine and analyse the nature of the interactions between teacher and student, and between student and student. In order to have such effective and meaningful opportunities for engaging interactions that enable genuine learning, we design classroom spaces and furniture specifically with these engagements in mind.



Sadly many schools pay lip service to such engagements. We have all experienced social settings in which the layout of the room or the furniture enabled social engagement better than others. Why should learning in the classroom be any different?

The new learning precinct at A.B. Paterson College, named ‘The Winton Centre’, stands as a representation of leading practice in the art and science of teaching. From wide open spaces, flexible learning spaces and spacious classrooms, to the furniture which has been specifically and purposely designed and manufactured for our College to enable the myriad of interactions and the rich engagement we seek with and between our learners in a fresh and leading educational space, our new learning precinct is an outstanding pillar for the development of the art and science of teaching.

The difference in our College is that decisions are made based upon research and the available evidence about teaching and learning practices. We do not follow fashionable trends for the purpose of presenting a pretty room for marketing or aesthetics, but rather make purposeful and deliberate decisions about our pedagogy, teaching and learning techniques, classroom engagement and, of course, classroom and furniture design.

Our classroom furniture is quite unlike that seen in standard educational brochures, and this is because we take the comfort of our furniture and its design elements under much consideration. This commitment represents a considerable investment in the learning space, which is not only comfortable for students but promotes and enables those interactions and engagements which are essential to productive and meaningful learning.

A.B. Paterson College has long developed a world-leading pedagogy, based upon credible research from Harvard University, and is one of an elite collection of schools throughout the world who have such a strong research basis for their pedagogy. Our newest learning precinct, ‘The Winton Centre’, stands as the most dynamic and leading, purpose-built learning precinct in Queensland, and with our research and deep understanding of the art and science of teaching, we have designed specific furniture and delivered technology that will enable our students to maximise every learning opportunity.



This is truly one of the most remarkable and noteworthy educational precincts of its kind, and I look forward to welcoming you to The Winton Centre in the very near future. With the Centre due for its official opening in July, I welcome your enquiry to tour our College and see the A.B. difference.


* Tour enquiries may be made to Mrs Karen Milburn, Head of Admissions 5594 7947 or [email protected])