Key messages at key times presented in key ways can be the key to success!
As a leader I believe a key part of my role is to impart key messages at the beginning of a new term.
Day one of each term I call the school together for a principal’s assembly to deliver key messages that set the scene for teaching and learning for the coming term. The assembly includes the usual welcome messages and often highlights the main activities for the term. However, more importantly it is a time to set expectations related to behaviour in a motivational and engaging manner.
When planning this presentation I reflect on the school as a whole over the previous term carrying out a type of environmental scan in my mind and decide what key messages will suit the teaching and learning pathway for the coming term.
I have learnt that key messages, no matter the audience, should be clear, concise, specific, and persuasive and should be remembered. Key messages are not “spin” but provide focus, and are in line with our values and teaching style.
I try to make the key messages short, snappy, simple and catchy and always connected to a story, short video, photos, role-play etc. This way the message is connected to a tangible reality. For example, using senior students to role play situations connected to the terms key message allows students of all ages to know what the message looks like in reality, therefore expectations are clearly set for all.
This term I had 3 messages I wanted students to remember and use to help them persevere, have self-belief and challenge themselves.
The first message was the power of YET! (Carol Dweck). I asked them to notice the difference between sayings like:
I can’t do this TO I can’t do this YET
I’m no good at this TO I’m no good at this YET
I don’t like this TO I don’t like this YET
That is, changing the negative into a positive mindset. The key message was then reinforced powerfully by watching the YouTube clip of Sesame Street & Janelle Monae singing The Power of Yet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLeUvZvuvAs
The second message was: If you don’t try you will never know!
I told them how a cat was so bored that he took a risk & challenged himself to be more like a dog. We then watched the hilarious YouTube clip - Be More Dog!
The third message was: The secret of success is stickability!
I told them about Bella the amazing dog that practiced and practiced till she could play the piano. Bella stuck to her goals and achieved success. We then watched the YouTube clip - The Dog Waltz.
This clip was highly amusing.
Everyone left the assembly happy, motivated, and all on the same page – what a great way to start the term!
So, the key message is: