SAFE SPACES FOR VULNERABILITY, LISTENING & AVOIDING JUDGEMENT ARE KEY FOR FELLOWS
How deep and difficult conversations are helping Teach For Portugal fellows better understand their role in school
“A few months ago Teach For Portugal joined a session lead by Radha Ruparell, Morayma Jimenez and Steven Farr from Teach For All, which explored the Teaching as Collective Leadership framework and explored the mindsets and actions of teachers in some of the strongest classrooms globally. They looked at 4 lenses to approach our work, ‘Students as Leaders’ ‘Teachers as Learners’ ‘Community as Power’ and ‘Our work as Systemic’. For Maria Azevado co-founder and Head of Training at Teach For Portugal, this was so powerful that it spurred her on to lead not only staff reflections of these lenses and their own work, but last month, Maria worked with Teach For All staff, to design sessions using these lenses for fellows starting their first and second years.
Maria designed 3 sessions for fellows, with deep and honest conversations at their heart. ‘We have been working on intentionally creating safe spaces for vulnerability whenever relevant, to make it a routine. These are usually small group formats where we focus on active listening and avoiding judgement’ Maria shares. One session involved reflecting on the 4 lenses, where fellows lived into these, and where they did not live into these in their first year. In the second session, fellows used the lenses, to reflect on their classroom visions, and to design lessons to co-create classroom visions with students. In a third session fellows reflected on their entrance to ‘the system’ and used the lenses to reflect on how they will approach their work in schools this year.
‘Several fellows bring up this work during the weekly journal reflections, applying it to how they act in classrooms,
the progress they are making and also the way they look at the challenges they face daily.’
Maria Azevado Head of Training, Teach For Portugal
For Teach For Portugal’s fellows expressed that this training came at just the right time at the beginning of the school year, allowing them to establish goals for the year and to use these lenses as guidelines for their role in the school. ‘Several of our fellows bring the different lenses up during the weekly journal reflections, applying them to how they act in classroom, the progress they are making and also the way they look at (and act upon) the challenges they face daily,’ Maria shares.
One fellow reflected that seeing all students as leaders was a particularly inspiring lense. In their class when students were working in groups, this fellow intentionally assigned the role of leader to the quieter students, or those with some academic difficulties, handing them a physical team passport with a ribbon that they hung on their chest. The impact was real for these students, who noticably engagemed more with their peers, enjoyed the lessons and wanted to wear their team leader passport in all classes and breaks, as according to them, this passport was their lucky charm.
This example reminds us of what a profound effect a teacher’s belief in their students can have and how important it is that we all do the sometimes difficult work, that pushes us to see our own limitations and the steps to overcome these in order to make transformational change for ourselves and those around us.
Teach For Portugal plan to continue to use these lenses to reflect with fellows on their progress and impact, throughout the coming year.”
Artigo originalmente publicado na newsletter Teach For All European Region News #Novembro