Re-Lensing Learning 4

Coherence - When large numbers of people have a deeply understood sense of what needs to be done—and see their part in achieving that purpose—coherence emerges, and powerful things happen
— Michael Fullan

Build it | own it | grow it

An all too common problem in schools is the problem of fragmentation. Even when the goals are the right ones, they may not be experienced as connected ideas by the users. People see them as discrete demands with little or no connection to each other or their daily work; scrambling to implement too many directions and lacking a coherent sense of how they connect results in paralysis and frustration.

So this takes us back to the purpose of creating coherence - it is vital that schools and leaders frequently consider a coherence reset. A re-lensing of learning to empower a sustainable learning culture. The building of coherence through contribution and collaboration.

Alfriston Schools’ leadership team and staff have developed a focused direction and collaborative culture that has resulted from the process of coherence building. Of making meaning. The resulting coherence means the school has experienced clarity and purpose. The process to achieve greater coherence through purposeful action and interaction to gain clarity has resulted in the professional growth of the teachers in the school. The process has opened up a dialogue about learning and has moved engagement in the schools change process from Exhausted to Excited, - through coherence.

“Coherence is developed through common experiences involving contribution by all, through purposeful interaction in the making of meaning.”

The thinking and speaking about learning has allowed teachers to go deeper in their thinking and tease ideas out. It has enabled teachers to connect with their beliefs and visions of what great learning is. To have time for getting to the crux of learning, and has moved them up the continuum to be the builders and growers of Alfriston's learning culture.

Moving the engagement a schools change process from Exhausted to Excited, - through cohesion

The Builder

When teachers and leaders work together and take the time to truly connect with what the learning culture in their school is, they can unpack what it is on multiple levels. When unpacked on numerous levels schools can build a rich and relevant learning culture.

The process of connecting - unpacking and building, make the vision come alive for the teachers and leaders such that they truly own it.

The Grower

When teachers and leaders are enabled to explore, discover and design a school's learning culture they can identify how learning could be when its elevated to its very best. Through the process of exploration, design and deepen; leaders and teachers can grow their learning culture. It is no longer a static statement on the wall. It morphs, stretches and grows with the school and as the capability of the learners in the school grow.

The clarity that comes out of deeply unpacking a schools learning culture enables leaders, teachers and students genuinely embrace learning and live it.

The Excited Teacher

By participating in and contributing to the dialogue about the learning futures in the school,  teachers find the clarity and the future possibility exciting. Their participation in the process enables them to have been part of the journey and part of the laying down of new foundations.

Meet Brook

Brook found that by speaking her thoughts and experiences of learning, she began to understand - deeply - what drives her as a teacher and learner. As she collaborated with her peers and contributed to the ideas of others, she began to feel excited about where learning can go to her school.


So that brings us back to the question - How well placed is learning in your organisation to enable empowered learning cultures?

If your organisation has a learning culture - who owns it? - it should be everyone!



Fullan, Michael. Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems. SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.


It starts with establishing coherence and clarity - developed through common experiences, involving contribution by all members of a department through purposeful interaction. Working on a common agenda, identifying and consolidating what is working and making meaning over time.

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Empower sustainable learning cultures is a program for leadership teams who want support to unpack their schools learning culture. 
It is focused on moving your schools learning culture from - told about it to grow it. Together we are able to:

  • Bring clarity to the journey for teachers and leaders in your school to make a change
  • Execute next steps to deepen/elevate the learning and engagement of 21-Century learning skills and dispositions in learners.
  • Excite leading-edge learning, and strengthen your foundations to grow pedagogy and sustain change.

The process requires a minimum of 3 sessions where we work through a process of Discover, Dream and Design for future learning direction.

Tabitha Leonard