Mick Walsh founded the Learning Curve Program in 1999 to build inclusive learning communities; believing that all children can learn to their potential when strong and transparent learning partnerships are nurtured in schools.
His focus was on the cultivation of reflection, resourcefulness and resilience as personal attributes of each student.
Mick together with a strong team of experienced educators develop the Learning Curve Wellbeing Program, Activity Books and online resources.
Mick is available to assist schools with implementing and embedding the Learning Curve Program by using practical ways which win the support of students, teachers and parents.
Mick is also available to facilitate leadership team and whole school seminars on a variety of educational perspectives including:
- Building developmental, non-judgmental peer based Performance and Development Frameworks to create shared goals, targets and strategies.
- Enabling the giving and receiving of feedback through open questioning and appreciative inquiry.
- Conducting crucial conversations with staff.
- Establishing a School Wide approach to teaching and learning with shared expectations and practices.
- Reviewing school data with school leadership teams to establish improvement strategies.
- Embedding Whole School Approaches to student management and building relationships through classroom management plans for all staff.
- Nurturing effective home - school learning partnerships through the Learning Curve Pastoral Care Program.
- Introducing a school wide approach to using visible thinking strategies and techniques
Mick facilitates hands on session that are based on the belief that for real owned change to occur, people must enter into formal and structured dialogue; everyone has an opportunity to contribute, in order to establish connections and shared principles and practices.
The key desired outcome is to create a team model which demonstrates:
- Enhanced role clarity - being aware of what each team member has to do on a daily basis to achieve the team’s vision.
- Genuine participative decision making – distributed leadership and a willingness to seek and value everyone’s diverse input.
- Increased individual and team morale – enjoying a sense of belonging, self-motivation and belief that all team members can and do make a difference.
- Engaged learning and growth – providing developmental and non-judgmental staff team feedback for recognition and appraisal.
- Inspired empathy – a sincere team commitment to nurture rich and meaningful relationship.
Mick focuses on the following essentials to build teaching and leadership capacities and capabilities to enable outstanding learning opportunities for all students:
- Motivation – enhancing individual and whole school morale
- Empathy – empowering shared and distributed leadership
- Clarity–inspiring an understanding and valuing of roles and goals
- Engagement – enabling formal regular professional interaction and meaningful dialogue
- Learning – facilitating professional peer appraisal, growth and recognition
The purpose of this session is to arouse in staff a curiosity to learn more about the journey to developing a Performance Framework by willingly participating in further learning activities.
Mick describes the process developed at his Secondary College to create a developmental, non judgmental, approach to staff appraisal, recognition and growth including the formal allocation of time for staff to regularly enter into meaningful dialogue about learning and teaching, the giving and receiving feedback through open questioning and the sharing of goals, targets and strategies on their professional practice in a confidential group environment to ensure a cycle of continuous improvement and the establishment of strong collective efficacy.
The purpose of this activity is to arouse curiosity, learn from each other and develop skills in the giving and receiving of feedback through open questioning and appreciative inquiry. Because many of us believe we know each other’s jobs, the activity becomes very enlightening for many staff and builds empathy for each other; they realise that they have little or no idea of what colleagues do on a day-to-day basis in their roles. It enhances role clarity across the school.
Create a vision for our students from the input and valuing of all staff; having an image of our students before we start teaching. Before schools can establish shared visions and goals for their students, every staff member must have his/her own individual ones. Consensus decision making is introduced during the activity.
Establish a shared and owned set of behaviours that all meeting forums in the school will follow. Mick enables every staff member to have input and have it valued by colleagues, listening with their eyes, their ears and their hearts. The norms are authentically the staffs' to live by.
Mick leads staff to address the question, as a staff, what can we do together that we can’t do as individuals? The activity enables the giving and receiving of developmental, non judgemental feedback, through thoughtful open questioning, to discover sameness and build collective beliefs, expectations and practices.
To quote eminent 21st century American educator Richard Elmore,
“Don’t confuse autonomy with professionalism…..Professionalism is when a group of people with strong ideas about practice subscribe to a group agreement with strong principles of practice”
“We have to de-privatise the classroom. Beware the conspiracy of current practice and current knowledge!”
Harness and value the input of all stakeholders in the creation of a truly community vision for our students. Mick runs this visioning exercise with parents and interested community members after hours should schools wish; a collaborative activity that wins community confidence in the school as a valuable community asset.
Mick explains the relevance and need for all school and staff goals to begin with, “Students will…………, not “I will ...........”, and why SMART targets are necessary to measure our progress on our journey to achieving them. He then leads staff in strategic conversations to create shared strategies which are the things that “I do” on a daily basis to achieve our goals and targets. Mick then encourages staff to identify measurement tools for progress towards goals and the required professional learning to be undertaken.
Mick runs reflective leadership activities with school leadership teams to build their shared capacities to lead and challenge the status quo. He empowers them forget about the ever present operational and transactional discussions and enter into transformational conversations about how they lead and role model for their staff. The activity enables leadership teams to strategically address five key pillars of leadership which Mick believes are the essentials to a high energy and high performing school.
The purpose of this activity is to develop a consensus vision and set of expectations which all staff have had input into, value and will live by; thus reducing the variation in learning and teaching between classrooms and us being more ‘readable’ for our students.
Mick introduces the Leadership Team to a model for conducting crucial conversations with staff and each other which eases everyone’s minds and changes their workplace for the better.
Wanting to give feedback on success or otherwise after a selection process? After handling complaints? When dealing with staffroom talk that may be unhealthy? Following up on criticism of school or individuals by students and parents? Dealing with under-performance or when the leadership has concerns about a person or group? The purpose of this approach is to take you through the theory of preparing for and scripting a crucial conversation that will provide a person with an opportunity to redress a mistake, change behaviour or simply understand an issue from a different perspective before the potential ‘crisis’ or formal complaints process.