Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Capturing the collective IQ of our parents to inform our future

Last week I facilitated a parent forum as part of our 2023 future focused work.
31 open minded parents attended not knowing much about our focus, the fast paced (1.5hours) nature of the work but also how stimulating and thought provoking it would be.

The initial provocation, 4 short videos, were designed to stimulate them to question their present world viewpoint and take them forward in time to a new reality. There was no discussion time at this point just some thoughtful cognitive conflict, as planned.

Then, they were each given one of 6 provocations from different worldly aspects that they had to unpack and then record their assumptions/ideas.

15 minutes later, sharing in small groups they combined their initial assumptions/ideas to form a combined brainstorm.

Again, there was time to share only, little time to debate or discuss.

Next, they had to assimilate, analyse, debate and apply their thinking to agree on a collective group vision for 2023. 

Finally, they presented their visions. One group shared the following ideas:


§  There needs to be complete clarity across stakeholders (school, students, parents) around the ‘what’ and the ‘why’
§  Acknowledge that not everything new is good – filter and discard those things – e.g. technology, advancements, paradigms that do not serve/align with the mission
§  Honour the past; take the best of ‘now’ and integrate these


§  We see the role of teacher as a ‘Navigator’ assisting students to navigate their learning path
§  They will need to provide a framework/map for the student’s self-directed learning journey
§  An important aspect of the Navigator’s responsibilities will be as ‘Protector’, given the complexity and risks in an IT-driven world. This will be a 24/7 role which extends beyond the boundaries of school


Will need to be adaptable and agile however…
§  … there is significant risk they will suffer ‘atrophy’ of interpersonal skills
§  Regardless of however advanced or technology-based learning is they will still need to be adept at self-management.  DISCIPLINE, RESILIENCE AND SELF-MOTIVATION will still be crucial…
§  … we see these qualities as the same skills which employers will prize


§  Will to a great extent be ‘followers’ not leaders of their children’s learning pathways. They will have to work hard to ‘keep up’
§  For this reason, parents will need to be learners, themselves


Will need to physically cater for:
§  Parents as learners
§  ‘Engagement’ areas – where students must break out of their ‘tech silos’ and interact with others (i.e. to counter ‘atrophied’ interpersonal skills)
§  Community wellbeing – this will include ‘sanctuaries’ which are technology/IT free
§  Wellbeing will also underpin a change focus for boarding. We see a dramatically changed function for the boarding facility. It will be at the heart of the school, an important part of the social fabric of the community providing sustenance and support for the body, mind and spirit.  It will be an antidote for the technology-enabled environment
§  Innovation zones to drive collaboration and synthesis of disciplines


§  This references the need for adept self-managing, resilient and self-motivated students
§  They will want the best of both – i.e. academic and extracurricular talent  - ‘all-rounders’ – who have high IQ and EQ
Wow! And, that was the thinking of one group only!

The parents’ commitment to the task, incredibly open and future focused thinking was very inspiring and will add depth to our future focused 2023 strategic planning work.

This level of ‘buy-in’, synergy of future focused thinking and partnership is invaluable and its impact unquantifiable.

Teacher think tanks - completed!

Parent forum - completed!

Next  - student think tank!


  1. Gosh, this group was on fire! Very interesting thoughts on boarding. And lovely to see thoughts around well-being. You do these future-focused think tanks so well, Lyn.

  2. Thanks Bridget, it is an exciting and very fulfilling activity. Interesting too how some provocations were the same as I used for the teachers but the parents interpret some ideas differently which adds another layer of perspective. Assimilating the different groups ideas is a challenge!