Tools for collaboration

National Professional Standard for Principals
Leadership requirements
3. Personal qualities and social and interpersonal skills

Professional Practice
2. Developing self and others

AITSLdetailed Standard information


The old model is not working…!

When we think of a conference in the educational setting, we often conjure up images of sitting in a room full of people, suffering “death by PowerPoint” and looking forward to a nice hot lunch and having very little recall, let alone an ability to apply our knowledge upon return to school.

Research also supports the fact that learning in a one-off conference environment has limited effectiveness in changing school culture or improving teaching and learning outcomes for students (Lombardo and Eichinger 1996).

It’s time to turn the tables on how we run conferences! Let’s start with a name change…to embed effective, sustainable collaboration, a residential planning workshop is a critical starting point. There is enormous value in a residential workshop which prioritises active learning and where good pedagogy is applied to staff learning. Using strategies such as The Design Process in a conference setting can lead to powerful cultural change in schools.

There are numerous creative ways of finding time and money to run an overnight workshop that results in the establishment of powerful and effective collaborative partnerships.

How do residential planning workshops build collaboration?

For Principals and leaders who are seeking to build a collaborative network either within their school or between schools, a residential planning workshop is a key starting point.

An overnight planning workshop adds the invaluable bonus of shared “down time” where trust and rapport and respect build naturally. The importance of this time is often underestimated by school leaders and budgeting concerns too often over-ride these decisions. An overnight planning workshop also makes participants feel valued in their work and empowers them in decision-making processes leading to effective distributed leadership and the establishment of cohesive teams within and between schools.

Having time in a setting which is removed from the school site allows for an uninterrupted focus on effective planning

What does an innovative and engaging residential workshop look like?

The links below will provide you with some ideas for planning a residential workshop that reaps tangible benefits for developing collaboration and innovation in and between schools:

It is all about the power of good pedagogy…

It is vital to recognise the importance of the residential workshop pedagogy. Make it a rule that there will be no PowerPoint presentations at all! Our teachers and school leaders will find it easier to engage when they experience quality teaching modelled to them in their professional learning experiences.

Effective planning workshops require effort and planning. It is like creating a detailed lesson plan If you would like assistance to plan an effective residential workshop, contact Stephanie McConnell or Jeff Lambert.