Off the Beaten Track

It seems as though I’m always reading things that have to do with technology improvements that benefit the classroom. Scrolling down my Twitter feed you’ll find tweets that highlight 5 Chrome apps that rock, or the always enjoyable ‘10 of the best’ extension that will make you a better teacher. I’m learning some nifty tricks and things that I’ll definitely apply in my classroom but it’s refreshing to take a step away from tech PD and hear something else for a change…

Today at school we had the opportunity to hear from Brendan Spillane. Among his notable achievements, he is an internationally accredited Executive Coach and works with a range of leaders from business, education and elite sports. He’s also a former principal… His workshop with us posed the question: How can we be true to ourselves and each other to ensure a high performance culture exists within our own teams?

Better talk for better organisations from EDtalks on Vimeo.


Here are my takeaways from this:

    • The idea of the campfire. It’s a powerful metaphor for a safe place to have conversations. This was part of Brendan’s overarching call for the need to have a high degree of trust in your organisation and structures in place that maintain that. When you’re put in a position where you have to have a hard discussion with a colleague or parent, the campfire setting can be created with your posture, energy, stance etc. that will enable feelings of safety and security.
    • I’ve been hearing this one a lot from all angles so it’s gotta be important: He reinforced the importance of reflective time. He said ”a high performing person’s mind grabs all the information it can and makes personal sense of it”. (Definitely motivation for this blog post!) I don’t think I’ve been giving my students an opportunity to do this enough…
    • Pathways to high performing organisations consist of high levels of: trust, quality conflict, engagement, peer accountability, teamwork and results. If put to them, how would our students rate these factors in our classrooms?
    • “Your intentions are not your impact”. Be honest with yourself about what you achieve in the classroom
    • He also challenged us to think about where we find our joy in our lives.




Pull up a chair from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Any presenter that can leave you searching for answers and reflecting on a full day’s PD late into the night is one you don’t want to miss.

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