Heath McNeil, Caro Bush and Diana Wilkes visited four schools in Melbourne, Kororoit Creek Primary SchoolTruganinaSilvertonAlamanda  to critique and be inspired by their approach to Modern Learning Environments. There were some clear similarities in all the schools:

  • strong leadership with a clear, rigid belief in the school vision
  • investment in Beginning Teachers and then move them on (they become expensive to employ)
  • large numbers of admin/office staff  and no ‘staff’ meetings
  • big emphasis on professional learning for staff
  • In the 3 PPPS (Private, Public, Partnership School) any extra classes other than the original build were all relocatable – which is not really ideal

The final two days of our Melbourne professional learning experience was to attend the OUR Network ‘Choosing to Thrive’ Master Class  and Leadership Workshop. The facilitators for the two days were Brendan Spillane, John Edwards and Mary Wilson.

MLEs in Melbourne on PhotoPeach


The first day focussed on High Performance Patterns (HPP), which involves being able to identify the conditions required in order to enable individuals to work at their peak performance. The facilitators took us through a process to understand our High Performance Pattern  and identify our triggers which can undermine this mode of working. They empowered us to understand how to avoid slipping out of this mode into the opposite mode which they coined ‘grinding it out’.

The second day focussed on exploring how our own individual HPP can be best utilised in a team environment.  Identifying these dynamics in each other within a team is essential to creating a culture of leadership and a collective creative tension.  One suggested way to provoke creative tension is about embracing your contradictions – your oxymoron (a combination of contradictory words or images ie. compliant activist). When human beings are at their best, they embody qualities that are paradoxical and contradictory. You cannot do anything well for a sustained period that requires only one side of your oxymoron. One of our challenges at Ormiston Primary is uncovering what our Team Oxymoron will be.

Overall, it was two days of questioning how we operate individually as well as within a team environment and how we can work effectively to achieve a common purpose or shared vision. Some of the processes and strategies used by the facilitators will be useful in professional learning for our team.