Principal Donna Bridge reports on Stronger Smarter processes being used for staff development at Fitzroy Valley District High School in the Kimberley, WA.
At Fitzroy Valley District High School, we used Stronger Smarter processes and activities on our School Development Day to link in cultural awareness activities. The session ran from 8:30 – 10:30 and was a great way to link Strong Smarter and the Our Story Module. It was explained to the group how Stronger Smarter and Cultural Awareness support our capacity to work effectively together. Stronger Smarter values how we are together and investigates ourselves and how we act, respond and think, it reflects our own individual behaviours, practices and perspectives.
Cultural Awareness raises our knowledge of the other, and in this case, Aboriginal peoples. At its heart, we still need to understand ourselves as workers, but we must also have some understanding of past and present experiences, everyday ways of life of Aboriginal people, how are we the same, how are we different, how do we communicate and relate to each other and how do we work together. With our goal of developing staff who are culturally aware and culturally competent and are able to develop work procedures that are more effective in Aboriginal contexts, we utilised the Flags Activity.
We started with a 10 minute chat in small groups of 6 -8 participants, and each individual shared their journey to becoming a teacher and what drives them to work in a school. We then asked the individual to design their own flag using symbols only to represent what gives them strength and helps them succeed.
Individuals then shared their own personal flags with other members of their small group. Each of the five participants in the group who had recently completed the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program were asked to facilitate a different group and practice their perceptual positioning, in particular P2 and tuning into others. We asked the groups to design a shared flag and follow the social processes to ensure everyone is included and represented.
It was interesting as each group shared their communal flags, the groups often sought to find the similarities and represent them, (family, friends, water) which was a celebration, but the groups were also reminded to embrace the difference and the diversity of the group, as that also gives us strength. All in all, it was a good session that went all too quickly. The room had laughter, smiles and people were sharing in a constructive way that is continuing to build positive relationships within teams and across different groups. In reflecting on the morning, I believe the importance we place in helping our staff understand how to work together and value the diversity in the group must be supported in our actions, and creating space for such activities on school development days, is are a key way to develop those processes that ensure we are the best we can be!