Sunday, 25 January 2015

A week with Julia

The penny dropped last Monday night that the person coming to work with us was Dr Julia Atkin - as in the lady in the curriculum video. I'm not sure why it took so long to make that connection, but it caused a rush of excitement because she is a person that makes sense to me.

What made it more exciting was the anticipation of getting our Herrmann Brain Dominance Results. I love these kinds of things! She made us wait though by starting with a card swap game related to the colours and characteristics of each quadrant. From that game I was predicting I was going to come out mostly blue with a little green and yellow. Red didn't seem to come out too strongly. It was interesting to see when I got the results that it was pretty close. I'm actually a slightly more green (practical, organised, detailed), with a little less blue (rational, logical, analytical, factual) and yellow (experiemental, visual, conceptual) and even less red (relational, emotional, expressing), but not too much. I would say that this is a reasonably accurate description of me. 

The fascinating thing about this survey is that it also shows the qualities that are likely to be enhanced under stress - for me: blue and green, no surprises there!

The idea is that within a team, it is good to have a balance across the colours. Of course, some professions come out predominately in one or two colours, but teaching (and nursing) is different. My profile looks quite square on the diagram and another colleague with a similar shape wondered 'well, what do I actually bring?' At that point I hadn't considered it but upon reflection I could see where they were coming from. I was neither one thing or the other. However, it usually means we are good mediators. It can also mean we are a little indecisive because we can see all side. Anyone who knows me well, will also know this to be true of me - I'm not usually a fan of making big, on-the-spot decisions. 

But what does all this mean? It means developing an understanding of ourselves, our team, other associates, and most of the children. Teaching them to be aware of their internal processing and be flexible in their thinking. It's really important for children, especially those that haven't reached a natural cognitive connection to a concept, to do the talking about the thinking process.

Part of Julia's mission was to facilitate us through the 'nitty gritty' of a school set up - the values and learning process. She has an amazing ability to stretch your mind more than you thought possible. In fact one day I went home completely unsure why nothing made sense and how to sort it out. I was 'in the pit'!

However, using personal stories and her 'WHY? tool' we got through with a much clearer outlook. I came to realise very quickly that WHY is the most important question you can ask. And you have to ask it first. You have to know the value in doing something. So often, without thought, people put into practice a system that has been put in place - perhaps it's "always been that way," but if there is no value and belief behind it, then it is an unnecessary practice. The rule: you can't argue about practices - you can only argue about if the practices live out the value.

Values v Beliefs
You value something because you have an underpinning belief.

It was an amazing privilege to work with Julia and she has left me with many questions - mostly WHYs! I look forward to the continuing work we will be doing leading on from this mentally exhausting but stimulating week.

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