We’ve all been doing things differently.
But for the team at Springboard Trust – including our amazing volunteer base – the remote environment has provided an opportunity to learn and connect in all-new ways.
Much of the work principals do with us is predicated on the cross-sector model, the idea that people coming together from different backgrounds can help each other develop in truly astonishing ways. Between our volunteers, facilitators, team and principals, how can we keep that connection going?
With an ironing board, of course.
Better together – no matter the environment
For Ellie Sutton (Portfolio Delivery Lead, Wellington and Canterbury) and Nicholas Williams (Programme Manager, Canterbury), facilitating a Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme workshop remotely had some key differences – and challenges.
“There wasn’t much of a shift in the course material,” Nicholas says, “but tech was a huge consideration.”
“'We had to be particular about planning the sequence of events and who would drive the different tech functions, and think how we would provide people with the opportunity to talk. With a series of faces on a screen and most people 'on mute', normal silences can become amplified, and it became really important to address everyone and create times where they all could contribute.”
Nicholas and Ellie had some nerves about leading a remote workshop – how engaged people would be, and whether everyone would feel a part of it. From the moment principals began reflecting on their last few weeks, they realised everyone was all in.
As Ellie explains, a big factor in keeping this engagement going was changes of state.
“We learned a lot from out facilitation workshop with Sysdoc, particularly not to be afraid to change our space. Just because we’re presenting on a screen, it doesn’t mean everything has to take place there – we're also in our own physical environment, which we can use to our advantage.”
This meant, when it came time for whiteboard sessions, things got inventive. Using a whiteboard and flip chart on the wall, and the computer set upon her ironing board, what could have been a screen share became something much more engaging and entertaining.
“I’d seen memes of people creating home offices in lockdown, using ironing boards as standing desks – that sort of thing. When I started thinking about changes of state, I thought about those ironing board memes and realised hey, I have one of those!”