Practical Wisdom and Partnership Coaching Program for Teachers
At BBC, we see maintaining and enhancing every student’s wellbeing as central to our role. All our decisions are focussed on providing opportunities for our boys to grow; spiritually, academically, pastorally, and in their cultural and sporting endeavours. We want to instil in our boys the confidence and capability to contribute; to make a difference to the world they are helping to create.
During the course of 2017, Mr Dominic Piacun, Head of Drama and Film, Television and New Media was engaged in Masters research in the area of Organisational Citizenship. Dom’s research led him to the concept of practical wisdom; the idea that individuals in organisations carry with them extraordinary knowledge, gained through endeavour, experience and research.
Dom asked teachers across the College to identify a moment in their career where they gained wisdom that has made them a better teacher. This wisdom was shared with staff at whole school briefings. The College’s Director of Professional Learning, Mr Sean Riordan, was considering similar concepts when creating professional learning opportunities for teaching staff. A corridor conversation between Dom and Sean, and a few subsequent coffee meetings, resulted in a ‘novel’ idea.
What if the College drew on the incredible, combined wisdom of every teacher at BBC? What if every teacher shared a strategy that worked with the boys under their care? What if this concept of shared wisdom extended beyond classroom teachers to coaches and non-teaching staff, allowing all staff to share their wisdom?
To embrace this concept, Dom and Sean facilitated a professional learning session, held outside of work hours and off-site. With their creative juices flowing, teachers were on fire. By night’s end, the collective wisdom had drawn together enough good ideas to fill a book, literally.
Additional staff sessions were facilitated and by the end of the 2017 school year, the College had published, Practical Wisdom: A collection of teaching strategies that work with boys. The publication drew on the work of experts in boys’ education such as Michael Reichert, Richard Frawley and Dr Peter West.
In 2018, the publication was revised and used as a resource by new and returning teachers, and Dom and Sean were invited to present at the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC) International Conference. Now the ideas of BBC teachers were lighting the fire for boys’ schools around the country, and as far afield as Los Angeles, New York and London.
Again, the question was posed; what next?
During the course of 2018, Headmaster, Mr Paul Brown, introduced the concept of Partnership Coaching to BBC. The model is based on the work of Instructional Coaching guru, Mr Jim Knight. With the assistance of Professional Learning Institute Consultant, Mr Glenn McLachlan, the College embarked on a pilot program to train eight teachers in the Jim Knight model.
This resulted in teachers sharing their wisdom in a research-based model, video recording their own and each other’s lessons, and having rich conversations about their practice. Student wellbeing and learning was planted at the centre of everything we do. Click here for staff reflections on the program.
“The opportunity to film and review my lessons has been a great way to reflect on and improve my teaching. I’ve enjoyed discussing practice with a teacher who has a wildly different set of challenges and approaches to my own.” – Mr Daniel Johnston, English and SOSE teacher