The Seven Conversations Challenge

It’s the time of year when we make all sorts of personal resolutions and also when we adjust the course of our school before we set sail into a new year.

Many school leaders tell me that they contemplate a restorative future for their schools in January. Good!

Today, I’d like to give you a way to work through that contemplation across seven conversations.

As a Leadership Team, I suggest you discuss these curly, little provocations:

  1. Are there any priorities in your school where commitment is already optional? What would the leaders of a high-priority school do about that?
  2. How good are we at being patient when it comes to improving student conduct, relationships and school culture? Are we prepared to play the long game?
  3. How important is it that teachers, students and parents know why we do what we do and why we practice/lead in the ways that we do? And if it is important, what are the implications of that for us?
  4. What do we know to be true about student behaviour, about human emotion and the ways that young people genuinely learn to socialise successfully? And, is it possible we don’t yet know enough?
  5. How has our previous or current approaches to growing worthy citizens impacted the way our students behave and handle conflict when nobody is watching?
  6. If the best teachers we remember could be described as being both firm and fair, how clear is it to every employee in our school how we do firmness and fairness here.
  7. Do we stick to our commitments and values, even when it isn’t easy or popular? Are we prepared to do that when it comes to practicing restoratively?

Your school’s readiness isn’t about having all seven provocations sorted before you begin. Commitments aren’t achievements until the work has been done. Rather, we need our leadership eyeballs to lock and for us to be able to say “We should do this. We need to do this. We can do this.”

Let me know if you need a hand to get started. You can book a time to chat with me about your school at this link. I’m happy to help.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. Something else to contemplate (actually, don’t contemplate it – just register!). We’re launching both the Real Schools App and the Kokoda Schools Project App on January 21 at a free online event. I really hope you’ll register here and come along.

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