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Strategic thinking and community change

Day Two, the excitement and the deep thinking continued with Rod Dungan from Thriving Youth Australia. Rod talked about the importance of valuing people and relationships in schools and learning environments. Their research shows that if a teacher greets and names every student at the door, retention rates go up significantly. "Everyone is a developer of community."

Future Trends, a conversation with Cheryl Wilkinson

History_of_ACE_sector_-_conversation_with_Cheryl_W.jpg Cheryl started the session by inviting us to explore our spiritual and visual perceptions of ACE. If ACE were a character, what would he or she be like? Then people gained an overview of changes in the history of the ACE sector, and how they relate to new changes coming our way.

As ageing populations deplete labour markets around the developed world, we face new challenges in our sector. (The photo at right shows how far back our sector goes in Victoria, to the 1940's with the Working Men's Institutes.)

Conversation Two with Cath Connolly - What are our fears?

Cath asked us to think of all the different tyes of fears we might face as a tutor or as a person generally. After we identified these we looked at what we could do about them. A very neat achronym gave us something to think about:
F Find a different perspective
E Engage your problem-solving skills
A Ask for help
R Resist the temptation to give up.

Other suggestions from participants included:
Asking ourselves "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Finding a trusted friend to use as a mirror to reflect back our thoughts in order to help us find our own solutions and breaking down the problem into manageable steps were just a few of the many useful suggestions. A very thoughtful and meaty session which gave good strategies to take away.

Conversation 4 with Karen Scott - Making Wish Boxes

WishBoxes_-_Conversation_with_Karen_Scott_-_36.jpg This peaceful and creative session began with a beautiful rendition from Cath Connolly on the Irish harp which set a tranquil mood. Karen then asked us to visualise all the things that we desired in our lives - our heart's desires, and to write these down. Things we dream about doing, having, giving sharing, seeing and experiencing. These were the wishes to go into our wish boxes.

We each chose a box to decorate with paint, stencil or texture and spent the rest of the session creating a beautiful box in which to keep our wishes. Every particpant completed his or her box in the time allocated and these were shown to the other particpants at the final plenary. I love my wish box and it now has pride of place on the shelf in my study where I can admire it daily and work on achieving some of those wishes dearest to my heart.

Closing Session: recognition and congratulations

coonara_house_award_closing_session.jpgCoonara House was awarded the Learning Provider of the Year Award. Congratulations Coonara.