On Friday 16 May, the Victorian Minister for Education, Martin Dixon, announced the winners of the 2014 Victorian Education Excellence Awards at the Crown Palladium.
These Awards showcase the outstanding contributions made by teachers, principals, business managers and education support staff in Victorian government schools.
This year Tony Fowler, Principal at Warracknabeal Secondary College, and his School Improvement Team were awarded the 2014 Teachers Health Fund School Leadership Team of the Year.
In 2013 Tony, along with 12 other high performing principals, completed the Open-to-Learning (OTL™) Conversation Accreditation Program at Bastow. Bastow partnered with Distinguished Professor Viviane Robinson from the Centre for Educational Leadership, Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland, to deliver this intensive three-phase program.
Warracknabeal Secondary College is a rural school with approximately 250 students. In recent years it had been experiencing declining levels of literacy and numeracy and motivation for students to succeed.
Since completing the Bastow program, Tony has successfully implemented some key theories and practice with his staff at Warracknabeal around relational trust, including teaching observation, meaningful and challenging conversations, and feedback.
“I have always felt that relational trust is more important than the attention it gets,” says Tony. “This course provided me with the evidence to support this and demonstrated the positive impact of high relational trust on student outcomes.”
Tony and the staff are committed to raising the motivation and expectations of students, and have already seen remarkable results.
“I strongly believe that OTL has played a role in the high levels of relational trust, and the improvement we have seen in teaching and learning at the school,” says Tony.
Tony also believes that improving teacher performance is the key to improving student outcomes, and that “significant and sustainable change” can be achieved when “intrinsic motivation is fostered, teamwork is inspired and we are all committed to improvement”, and that relational trust sits at the very core of this.
“High levels of relational trust provide a climate of respect, safety and caring, albeit with high expectations, where true improvement can flourish,” says Tony.
For more information on the 2014 Victorian Education Excellence Awards, see:www.education.vic.gov.au/about/awards/pages/veea.aspx
For more information on Open-to-Learning (OTL™) Conversation Accreditation Program, see:www.bastow.vic.edu.au/courses/open-to-learning-conversations
Open-to-Learning (OTL™) Conversation workshops are being run throughout Victoria, see:www.bastow.vic.edu.au/professional-practice-and-events