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Dr Michael Johnston

Senior Fellow

Dr Michael Johnston has held academic positions at Victoria University of Wellington for the past ten years. This includes being the Associate Dean (Academic) of the University’s School of Education for the last 3 years.

Prior to his time at Victoria, Dr Johnston was the Senior Statistician at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, a position he held for 6 years. Before that, he held positions at Melbourne and Latrobe universities.

Dr Johnston holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Melbourne.

He lives in Roseneath, Wellington, with his wife and two young children.

Phone: 044990790

Email: michael.johnston@nzinitiative.org.nz

Recent Work

Media release: School classrooms experiment has been based on ideology – report

Wellington (Tuesday, 20 September 2022) – Ideology rather than evidence is the basis for the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) ‘Modern Leaning Environments’, research by think tank The New Zealand Initiative reveals. The fact that a government ministry could not produce data to support its policy for mass conversion of New Zealand’s classrooms to Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs), is the main finding of the Initiative’s new report, No Evidence, No Evaluation, No Exit – Lessons from the 'Modern Learning Environments' experiment. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Media Release
20 September, 2022
No Evidence No Evaluation No Exit cover

No Evidence, No Evaluation, No Exit - Lessons from the 'Modern Learning Environments' experiment

In 2011 the Ministry of Education embarked on a ten-year strategy to rejuvenate New Zealand’s aging classroom estate. Part of this strategy involved establishing large, open plan classrooms, populated by many more children than are found in cellular classrooms. The Ministry conducted no research on the effects of these ‘Modern learning Environments’ on students’ learning prior to compelling schools to adopt them. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
20 September, 2022
RN nine to noon Kathryn Ryan square

RNZ: No evidence modern learning environments work - report

In 2011 the Ministry of Education embarked on a 10 year strategy to rejuvenate New Zealand's ageing classrooms. Millions of dollars were spent building open plan classrooms and implementing student led learning strategies. But in his report for The New Zealand Initiative, Dr Michael Johnston, found there was little evidence the policy has worked at all, and in some cases may be making learning even more difficult for some students. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Radio NZ - Nine to Noon
20 September, 2022
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Podcast: Oliver Hartwich and Michael Johnston on the modern learning environment experiment

Ideology rather than evidence is the basis for the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) ‘Modern Leaning Environments’, research by The New Zealand Initiative has revealed. Dr Oliver Hartwich and Dr Michael Johnston discuss the fact that a government ministry could not produce data to support its policy for mass conversion of New Zealand’s classrooms to Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) and other findings of the Initiative’s new report, "No Evidence, No Evaluation, No Exit – Lessons from the 'Modern Learning Environments' experiment". Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Dr Michael Johnston
Podcast
20 September, 2022

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