Having just presented ‘Safer Schools for All’ for the first time – content I am very familiar with but presenting it in the PPTA Rainbow Network package is new – I have plenty to reflect on. My discomfort with the presentation being full of ‘tell’ is certainly still a feature, but through the process of delivering it I’ve come to appreciate why that is necessary. It’s the power of the outsider stepping into a school and telling a staff how it is. Immediately the context is more real – an outsider coming in creates an immediate sense that the material is important.
The presentation is basically two halves. Firstly making a case for supporting LGBTI students; secondly, looking at how one will do that. One question still in my mind is how compelling can I be as an outsider presenter in calling people to action. Much more needs to be done for LGBTI youth, so can I point fingers and say it needs to be done better? How effective would it be to get real about the reality for queer youth? I think it needs to be balanced, and complimenting a school on the action that they have already taken needs to come with the clear message that more needs to be done by us all.
Feedback was overall very positive. The comments positively reflected respectful tone of the room. They included, “very informative, enjoyed it, thank you, “very clear and engaging. Made me reflect on practice and next steps” and “not often is it a topic where we get to converse so good to begin the process”. The presentation finished with a moving speech from a staff member who reflected on the importance of the content. I’ll never forget the emotion behind his words.
However, this needs to be balanced with one comment – the only really negative feedback:
Statistics and chalk & talk delivery model is largely ineffective. We are all aware of the need for inclusion. More emphasis on actions and methods used to prevent exclusion/bullying would be most beneficial.
This struck me, because it mirrors my discomfort with the current model, but it has also challenged me to think about ways I could better encourage questions and facilitate discussion that focuses on ‘how’. There were four points in the presentation where the staff were asked to discuss with the people around them. Should I be facilitating a better range of discussion by generating different groups? The presentation needs to consider emotional safety, but is that my role of the role of the senior management? I think a key takeaway is the need to make these discussion points transparent by adding the questions into the presentation. I don’t know how to get around presentation of the statistics. I suppose most importantly, the presentation needs to continue to evolve and it needs to be more dynamic.