Reinventing Rewards

November 5, 2015

I recently embarked on a cultural change project. Initially I had this disarmingly simple idea to align our schools ‘behaviour’ culture with our learning culture. The distinction is of course an artificial one, but one that had crept into our environment. What a minefield school culture is!

Instantly a clash of teacher expectations emerged. The two extremes of expectations were teachers who instantly embrace a more relational and complex approach to behaviour and those that are insisting on clear instructions: “When a student does …. tell me WHERE to stand, the POSE  to strike and the WORDS to say. Luckily in my school we are fairly united around a strong desire to simply do the best for our students.

I initially went looking at WSPBIS type programs, as they have made their way to Australia in the form of PBeL. Unfortunately those programs are not going to align with our culture.  I found a fantastic textbook that outlines a Positive Learning Framework, and it is very good, but it is only a textbook.

And so began the design challenge(s).


Using QFT as Scientific Method Revision for Year 8

September 8, 2013

I’ll be using QFT in an attempt to facilitate a revision opportunity for my year 8 class.

The technique is summarised here:

Four Essential Rules for Producing Your Own Questions:
1. Ask as many questions as you can
2. Do not stop to discuss, judge or answer the
3. Write down every question exactly as it is stated
4. Change any statement into a question
Categorize the questions as Closed or Open-Ended:
Closed-Ended Questions: They can be answered with “yes” or
“no” or with one word.
Open-Ended questions: They require an explanation and
cannot be answered with “yes” or “no” or with one word.
Mark Closed-Ended questions with a “C”
Mark Open-Ended questions with an “O”

Using this resource: http://rightquestion.org/downloads/2012/02/QFT-Card.pdf

And I’ll be using this linoit, to collect questions, then to group them and trim the list down to the most helpful ones.

I tried to embed the linoit – so you could see changes, but it doesn’t seem to like linoit when i save, it deletes the embed html.

I’ll be trying this approach for a number of reasons:

1. I want to be more familiar with QFT.

2. Always good to try new things.

3. If QFT works well with these students, it could work nicely as the basis for an entry event to next terms PBL unit.

I’ll let you all know.


Making it Mobile Adelaide 2013 Day 1 and 2

September 4, 2013


For Day 1

Making it Mobile Adelaide 2013 PBL workshop


For Day 2:

build your unit with the PBL planner handout.

Here are some old versions of the PBL planner have the same content but don’t look so slick.

download PBL planner online or

download PBL planner to print

Links to really useful PBL resources:


PBL unravelled day 2

August 30, 2013

10:00 starting with  inspiration from North American Schools the day is then your own to work through a unit, or a few.

11:30 break

catch up with email

check your twitterfeed

learn a new web 2.0 tool

12:00 PBL spaces – school and work discussion

1:00 lunch

2:00 post lunch visit of some spaces

3:30 finish.


PBL unravelled day 1

August 28, 2013

10:00 icons and PBL immersion experience

the research links that often don’t work on slideshare:

11:00  PBL described and defined

11:30 break

11:45 Quest visit – start a class.

12:15 getting started case study and a Design Process taster

1:00   build your unit with the PBL planner handout.

Here are some old versions that have the same content but don’t look so slick.

download PBL planner online or

download PBL planner to print

1:30   lunch

2:00   Quest visit see a class in action.

2:45   PBL build your unit (continued)

4:00   end

Links to really useful PBL resources:



July 18, 2013

Resources for today’s workshop:

Use this email (remove any email signatures) to post questions about PBL during the day: 12481552.3149@e.linoit.com

they will appear on this collaborative post it note board  (alternatively you can just go to the board and create a post it note!)

here is a dodgy Word version of my  PBL Planner


insight through #design thinking #immersion

June 28, 2013


Today I have broken the rules on purpose. I have chosen to wear clothes to work which do not meet with our usual guidelines. I did this simply as an initial step in the design thinking process, for my next project which is to re design  classroom management practices in my school.

The fantastic thing about design thinking is that small, seemingly insignificant experiences can lead to great insight. The insight does not have to be supported by data, it is simply insight. It can spring completely from your intuition. Insight does not have to be global, it can be discrete and contained to a small part of your project. But it is still insight and it will still inform.

So I have a prediction for today, and that has given me insight. I thought ahead to what might happen through the day as I am wearing my jeans, my scuffed “designer” boots and a little bit of African jewellery. I thought I will be noticed. This gave me insight into one of the possible motivations for students to behave in a way that is counter to the culture set by others.

It sounds a little obvious, but my insight leads me to thinking that in order to shift the culture around classroom management practices, we need to acknowledge the right behaviour of  students. We need to notice when students are behaving in productive, respectful and appropriate ways. Too often i suspect we set the rules and then simply expect students to follow them, with little encouragement and reinforcement  Who do we notice? We notice those students that are challenging the system and the culture. One of the things that gets in the way of this acknowledgement of appropriate behaviours is the attitude that staff may have of “I’m not going to praise the behaviour that is simply what i expect, i’ll only praise that behaviour which goes above and beyond my expectations.”

Maybe the power of the design thinking is that the insight provides the motivation for action. Idea #1 for this project is for staff to start acknowledging those students that are behaving and learning in a manner that is consistent with our established expectations around student culture.