Re-Lensing Learning 7

The Design Process
Inspiration | Imagination | Implementation
Discover | Dream | Design

Part Four: Imagination - Creating a vision.

Learning is occurring at all levels of an organisation or school - all that changes is who supports the learning at each level. When all teachers in a school are given the opportunity to contribute and clarify what the learning culture is in their school, teachers find it incredibly empowering and exciting. Building what learning success looks like at each level of the organisation empowers learning and elevates it to a new level. It is a whole lot easier to coach and support teachers and students when there is a clearly defined and carefully unpacked definition of the learning culture to work towards. The crux of it is - all members of the school community has a love of learning and should be striving to learn at every opportunity. For teachers and leaders, it is especially important to model learning for the students who are grappling with the process, and working to grow their learning powers.

It starts with establishing coherence - a shared depth of understanding.

Alfriston School is looking to move to deepen learning. To do this, they are implementing new pedagogies for deep learning. The leadership team at the school have recognised the need to identify strengths, and have engaged in a new change dynamic. Not a usual implementation mindset but a process of learning and co-construction of ideas with staff. Change management done in this way results in learning occurring laterally not hierarchically.
Change management that involved collective contribution to co-create a vision of learning to take forward. Let's see how.

Collective | Contribution | Co-creation

Step Four - Listen 4 Understanding - Imagination - Whole Staff Session

All syndicate teams went through a process of imagine. Imagining where their ideas connected to the ideas of the whole.  Deepening ideas in a way that developed thoughts through a process of write, draw and speak. A little like adding layers of paint to a drawing to gain depth. With an increased level of understanding, we were now in a position to begin to converge all ideas. A process of free flow convergence that allows all of the ideas to converge into a series of words that had been created by the whole.

And then we began to build... We started to design our prototype for The Language of Learning at Alfriston.
In a whole staff session, we placed all of the words onto large hexagons on the floor and began to bring them together. We looked for connectivity. We looked for ideas that were related to each other. We started to place the hexagons together in a way that began to build. 
The dialogue that occurred was incredibly rich. Teachers were moving hexagons, making changes to others ideas and then justifying to each other why they made the switch.
Conversations about the learning process, what is valued in their school, what the roles are everyone played - teacher, student and parents, how all this could become a possibility. Dialogue about how they work together, how they will need to work together, what the things are they would need to say and do to make this a reality. 
Remember, this whole process was occurring in the aspirational zone. In some cases, there were ideas on the table that were futuristic, others that are current culture elements to take forward.

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.
— H.E. Luccock

The structure of the hexagons underwent multiple restructuring events throughout this whole process. It morphed and changed. Through dialogue, some words were taken out, others added. However, eventually, a prototype was built and leveraged into action. 
The purpose of this prototype is to have an agreed culture of learning and a language for learning - built by the teachers for all aspects of learning - bespoke to the schools' needs.

Through dialogue, some words were taken out, others added. However, eventually, a prototype was built and leveraged into action. 

So in summary - The sum of all the parts is greater than the whole. Contribution from across a school can build a deeper and more powerful vision and culture. It takes time but is incredibly important if you are looking to create change-ready tribes in your organisation

Tabitha Leonard