Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Learning is a social process because we are social animals. We are at our most effective when we are in positive relationships, whether it’s in a personal relationship, family, or across a wider community. And one of the ways that we really can do something about the quality of learning, I think, is to see the school as a community and to see the level of engagement across that community. Archbishop Desmond Tutu talks about a South African concept of Ubuntu. And Ubuntu, essentially, is translated as, ‘I am because we are.’ In other words, my development is contingent upon our development.
Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds And he talks– and I think it’s a wonderful phrase about when we are in effective community, in effective relationships that there exists what he calls ‘a tender network of interdependence,’ which I think is a wonderful phrase. And essentially, if you look at the most effective human relationships, they have that sense of tenderness of care, but also the rigour of interdependence. And that, I think, describes perfectly for me the quality of partnership in learning in classrooms and learning across the school, whether it’s in sports or drama or music. All of those are areas where partnership becomes possible. And all of them are underpinned by the extent to which there is the high degree of trust.
Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds Michael Fullan argues that trust comes after good experiences. What effective schools and teachers do is to create lots of good experiences, which builds the trust and the greater the trust, the more likely we are to learn.
Building a climate of trust
In the previous step, you read an extract from a research report that included some quotes from girls interviewed about their experiences of learning. One girl notes that her favourite lessons are ‘a partnership in learning.’
Partnerships are underpinned by a high degree of trust. In this video, Professor John West-Burnham talks about the need to develop a climate of trust within the classroom and school.
What would you say about the climate of trust in the school or institution you are involved with and what is your evidence base for that judgement? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
© Girls’ Day School Trust 2016