As a group of schools fully committed to developing as learning organisations we feel it is important to develop other schools’ awareness and understanding of the seven dimensions. Even though we understand what is meant by schools as learning organisations, do all other schools understand? More importantly, do our pupils, the most important individuals in our organisations, understand what being part of a learning organisation means?
A group of schools worked together to produce a simple animation, with the support of our Consortium. It was envisaged that this would be a way of introducing the concept to pupils and explain to them what it means to be a learning organisation. It was excellent to see a cross-section of schools, who do not usually work together, having an opportunity to work on this exciting project – small primary schools, one of the biggest primary schools in Gwynedd and a secondary school.
Our first step was to simplify the seven dimensions wheel, identifying vocabulary more appropriate to the audience, before producing a simple script.
One thing was very important to us as a group of schools collaborating on this project – Pupil Voice. Pupils had to be central to the process of developing and producing. Meetings were held with councils and committees in our schools to find out pupils’ initial ideas on Schools as Learning Organisations, and also misconceptions! This was a very valuable process.
The animation team produced a draft version in no time. This was where pupil voice was at its best! Pupils are more than willing to air their views, especially on something contemporary such as an animation. Pupils’ response was excellent, questioning and probing, from the colours on the screen to the music and characters used. Moreover, on listening to pupils’ discussions, they understood the meaning of schools as learning organisations. Indeed, this was the aim of the project.
We needed a voice over for the animation, and who better than the pupils themselves to do this. This was an opportunity to hear their voice conveying the seven dimensions. The animation is now used nationally to promote SLO with children and young people.
Without a doubt, being part of the animation project, along with planning the way forward after receiving the snapshot, has assisted schools in preparing for the current transformational climate. It involves collaboration and sharing expertise, deepening learning on all levels within the school community.
Responding effectively to the seven dimensions certainly sets strong foundations for implementing the Curriculum for Wales. It has offered us rich opportunities to network and work with schools across the north. It has transformed the culture of the school, with everyone sharing the same vision and creating a climate of research and innovation, which has given staff confidence to take risks and to experiment.