Reinventing professional development and wellbeing training for educators

Using the power of story to mobilise teacher-led innovation

Ash Buchanan
May 30, 2018 · 4 min read

“Nothing has given me more hope recently than to observe how simple conversations give birth to actions that can change lives. There is no more powerful way to initiate significant social change than to start a conversation. When a group of people discover that they share a common concern, that’s when the process of change begins.” — Margaret Wheatley

In May 2018, 350 courageous educators at St Francis Xavier College came together to experiment with the future of professional development.

Not your usual professional development day

The power of story

“Story is a tool for building community through empathy and coherence. It enables people to connect across difference and to generate narratives that hold together groups, organizations, and movements.” — Ella Saltmarshe

To foster high-quality relationships between educators on the day, and to enable everyone to connect as humans, rather than only as professionals, every teacher was invited to share a personal story of a learning relationship that mattered to them. We did this because when we invite someone to share a personal story, we are inviting them to deepen their connection with us. It’s an invitation that says we believe their experience matters. Sharing stories in this way is a powerful tool for building community and creating a web of connection around the common concerns we share.

Mobilising community-led action

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” — Margaret J. Wheatley

While there are many benefits to hosting meaningful conversations, the reason that really stood out to us as organisers of the day is its capacity to mobilise community-led action. Change naturally emerges when groups of people connect with what is deepest and best in themselves, share what matters and take meaningful action alongside one another to make it a reality. In this way, conversation and discovering our common concerns become the foundations for transformative change.

Want to mobilise community-led action at your school?

We think hosting conversations about things that matter is one of the most powerful ways to generate transformative change in schools. Get in touch and let’s work together if you would like to run a community-led professional development day at your school.

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