During Professional Development Week at Navigator College, staff had the privilege of working closely with Mignon Weckert to further consolidate an understanding of the importance of collaboration in building an awareness of leadership and systems within schools. Encouragingly, this staff learning also transfers into student learning as detailed by Rhianna and Alicia, our Year 6 teaching team.
It is easy to see how in the life of a teacher we can approach our daily tasks with one of four mindsets. The consistent change we experience between complex and challenging activities, lessons and meetings can put pressure on our brains as we code switch regularly throughout the day. It is not surprising then, that as professionals we identify with the four approaches to learning: prisoner, vacationer, expert and explorer. We have all been in a meeting where it has been hard to stay on task or have previous expertise about a topic being discussed. These approaches are easy to identify within ourselves, but can be tricky to shift once we fix our mindset. In training with a focus on, ‘Collaborative Planning’ with Mignon Weckert not only were we able to identify our approaches to collaboration and learning, but moreover, determine that this is important and powerful learning for students within our classroom environment.
To effectively build leadership capacity in Year 6, we firmly believed that students need to firstly learn about themselves and how they individually approach learning and schooling opportunities. Through role-play and shared examples of our personal life experiences, we were able to unpack each of the 4 approaches using our senses. Learners connected with the humorous aspect of watching their teachers act out the approaches and reflect on and record their ideas. Further to this, we identified how each of these approaches impact our self, peers and teachers. Students created posters as a visual reminder. The language and visuals students created have been incorporated into our everyday teaching practices, with one student in Year 6 even identifying, ‘I am currently approaching this task as a prisoner, I wonder how I can change this’. The Year 6’s appeared very excited at the prospect of engaging in the same training and development their teachers had recently completed, and certainly rose to the occasion. We envisage the same outcome as we venture into the unpacking of the Four Player Model of Collaboration.
Rhianna Whenan and Alicia Leonard