Reflections from ACT Workshop 1

The purpose of the workshop was to meet with teachers and educational specialists to talk about examples of change processes (big or small) that would feed our process of developing the toolkit and serious games. In the session we were interested in the process of change such as negotiating and agreeing what needs to change as well as: how teachers would go about starting it; who would they involve; how would agents evaluate its impact.

Teachers presented a lot of examples of change that is already happening in their schools. All of the cases revolved around themes of equity and involving others. A prevailing discussion topic was building relationships by developing trust and making other stakeholders confident in their input.

Thematic map of the issues raised at Workshop 1

For example, some schoolteachers were discussing the importance of reaching out to and involving others in the process of change by collegiate evaluations where different perspectives can be heard and shared. Teachers identified that such a process requires common understanding and language about what is being improved otherwise the process can be confusing. One example given was about understanding the word ‘intense’ in Getting it right for every child guidelines which required a collaborative approach to reach a shared definition of that word.

Teachers and other education professionals presented cases of how they built strong relationships with others based on trust, shared values, and shared visions and confidence. For example, in one school during school closures a member of staff was assigned as a contact point in an attempt to reach out to each and every family and engage parents in supporting learning at home, especially for families and students in most need. Furthermore, teachers discussed potential barriers/challenges and opportunities that presents themselves in various situations, for example for developing a shared language and define desired outcomes and how they navigate the complexities of their professional field. For example, one teacher described an instance of extending an invitation to a local authority to attend their school to perceive how happy children were which official documentation could not reflect. This need to capture student happiness and processes as well as outcomes has come up repeatedly in the discussion.

Overall, participants thought that the toolkit, when complete, can easily fit into schools’ practices that are already happening. Teachers expressed that the toolkit at this stage fits into their professional learning; and that they see it as support for fostering professional conversations, building relationships by bringing different voices to conversations, and developing an understanding of change.

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