Protocols…What are they?

Consultancy and Tuning Protocols are not new and many educators are familiar with the terms and their use. This does not preclude them from being a valuable tool in the pursuit of collaborative collegial support networks!

In essence a protocol is a structured professional dialogue. The benefits of following the formality of the protocol are numerous but include:

  • Clear focus on the matter to be analysed or discussed
  • Clear time frame for the discussion
  • Clear roles for participants

Protocols are another process which can be used to embed sustainable collaborative support between Principals and aspiring leaders. Research and observational evidence has shown that participating in this process alone can provide powerful and meaningful professional learning for principals and aspiring leaders (Teitel, 2009). As with QT Rounds (Bowe & Gore, 2011), it is the conversations that are generated that form the most valuable learning.

How can using a Protocol facilitate sustainable collaboration and collegial support?

Utilising a research-developed process to facilitate a structured conversation between a small group of people around a common concern or key question ensures that all participants are equally able to contribute to the discussion and the solution. Discussions such as these develop trust and rapport between the members of the group and allow them to benefit from the experiences of others in similar situations.

See protocol structure for guidelines on how to facilitate a discussion using protocols.

Another benefit of using protocols is that it can be done using an online forum such as video conferencing or Adobe Connect. Protocols have been implemented successfully to bring together school leaders from schools around NSW in a positive proactive discussion on key issues related to leadership in their school context. It is a highly effective way of enabling school leaders to genuinely empathise with the challenges faced in a diverse range of schools across the State.

Here are examples of other protocols you might like to try: