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Which button to press

Over the last few Home Truths, I’ve looked at the student behaviour battle in Australian schools. This is the last in a four-week effort to unpick where we went wrong, who today’s young people are and what kind of design we’ll need for success with them.

Along the trip, we’ve landed on the need for an explicit practice framework for the culture of your school. I wrote a book called Restoring Teaching a couple of years ago that describes such a framework, and it’s free for every Australian teacher through this link.

But even with that framework in your hands, it can be hard to know where to start. It’s a feeling similar to the one I get when I look at one of today’s television remote controls. I know what I want, but I have no idea which button gets the job done.

Sometimes (ok, often), I end up pressing too many buttons at once, making the situation worse.

I’ve looked into this for schools and think that implementation of a cultural framework needs nine separate supportive artefacts that you can consider as buttons on the school culture remote control:

  1. High-quality professional learning for all adults on staff.
  2. Modelling, co-teaching and feedback opportunities for practitioners.
  3. Mentoring focused on developing cultural leadership capacity in your executive team.
  4. An Action Plan that focuses on practitioners’ ongoing learning and application needs.
  5. A Public Declaration of intention. If you want everyone on the same practice page, write it.
  6. A comms plan for ensuring that parents/carers trust your expertise and adjust their reference point for what to expect of the school.
  7. Coaching for teachers stuck on the wrong side of expected implementation barriers.
  8. Resources that support both the ongoing growth of staff and the point-of-need issues they’ll face.
  9. Tools for measuring progress made by all stakeholders (staff, students and parents/carers).

These components have become the pillars of our Partnership Model at Real Schools.

Just reply to this email if that sounds like something you’d like some help with as you plan for 2024 and beyond.

Regardless, keep fighting that good fight,


PS. Canberra, calling all teachers and school leaders! Join me on 29 June for a full-day workshop on Restorative Classrooms, Strong Classrooms. Learn powerful strategies for student behaviour and constructive conversations. Register here. Or on 30 June for a half-day workshop on The Art of School Culture Leadership. Learn how to drive positive culture change in your school. Register here. Click here for events in other states.


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