Brenden Mair, Director of teaching and learning, CBC St Kilda
We started the implementation of Group8’s PDC program in 2012 and decided to continue with it all through 2013.
At the time we were facing the following issues:
- The realisation that staff development needed to become a priority
- Have a closer look at what behavioural change needed to take place in the classroom as well as outside the classroom
- Interaction between colleagues
- Wanted to become a much better performing school
- Development and improvement of our “staff capital”
- Become better at doing our job across the whole school
What really struck us right from the start was that John’s program was very structured and we felt that this was exactly what we needed. I also feel that this structured approach reduces implementation pressures significantly.
The interesting thing in my view is that although we had some critics in our ranks, they over time, and due to the consistency in implementation had to admit that the program actually works.
We implemented the program in layers. Senior leaders, middle leaders, teachers and then admin staff.
Our leadership team was coached by John in 2012, and because we’ve found his coaching so valuable, we decided to continue with the coaching sessions in 2013.
John’s an expert in his field which is why we choose to work with him in the first place. Over the time we’ve worked with John, the effort he’s put into significantly improving the manuals and information on what is working in teaching is truly valuable. I am very happy about this. John’s great to work with, he’s reliable in getting back to us and consistent in his follow up.
I think the feedback mechanism of the program is excellent, and the overall feedback from students to teachers was positive.
While we experienced a bit of push back in regards to the feedback early in the program, when the feedback was actually delivered the reluctance pretty much disappeared as staff found the feedback to be valuable.
We have noticed significant improvements in the following areas:
- Student feedback on the school has improved year on year.
- Classroom practice, which is one of the reasons we decided to buy into the program in the first place.
There is anecdotal evidence that staff are coming out and offering feedback as to where individuals can improve, which is a wonderful change in the right direction.
Here are a couple of reasons why I find the program so valuable:
- The cognitive training aspect which teaches us how to think rather than following a rote “do this and then do that”.
- “The red zone/blue zone philosophy”. In my view this is where the biggest impact is going to take place with the way we respond to each other and will have the biggest impact on our school.
In my view the program deserves a rating of an 8 out of 10 and is good value for money. To me an 8 rating means that this program is doing more for our school than I had anticipated.
Our school is aware that behavioural change takes time and core values need to be considered.
I am absolutely convinced that if we persevere, we’ll achieve really good and long lasting results for our school, and that we’ll be a better school for it.
I would definitely recommend Group8 PD&C program to schools.