Tutorial 2   Connect with your Vision & Values

In this tutorial, you use the People Board to connect with your vision and values. The tree at the centre of the People board represents "culture" - the shared lived experience of your community. Use the roots to identify or design shared values, the trunk to cast a vision, and the tree top for valued behaviours & routines. 


Step 1: Connect with your Values

For the moment, we're talking about your team's values. Later, you can come back and repeat this process with everyone implicated in your design: including students, parents, or others. Your list of values can become part of a team agreement about how you will work together. Here's one process you can follow: 

  1. Have each team member write different values on a small Post It note - one value per note. e.g. "forthrightness", "clarity", "warmth", "willingness to help", "students come first". It is normal for different people to have different values. 
  2. Everyone places their notes on the roots of the tree.
  3. Together look for patterns and cluster themes of Post It notes together: e.g. honesty and forthrightness. You can also place similar Post It notes on top of each other. 
  4. Have each team member vote-tick for the most critical and best-worded values. Use this process to cull the Post It notes down to some well-phrased umbrella terms. You don't want too many of these. 
  5. However, give team members a chance to insist that a value be included. It might be super important for them, and it's important that the team acknowledge this. 
  6. Now strip away all the Post It notes and write the final few values on to the roots of the tree.
  7. You can type these values up in some form - perhaps with Microsoft Word SmartArt, and give everyone a copy. 

Step 2: Establish a Vision

This is a critical conversation, and potentially a difficult one! The aim is to come up with a few key phrases that clarify what matters most in your design. It may prove challenging to answer this using only your local team, so you might want to clarify with your leadership what they consider is mission critical to achieve through your learning design.

Then you need to interpret your broader school vision down to your local level: in your team withyour students in your space what is your immediate vision for your design? It is hard to answer this if you don't know what you're designing yet. Are you designing a new unit? A new space? A one-off lesson? Don't worry, there's no need to settle this yet - a few generic phrases will do for now, and you can come back later to refine or reconsider your vision. 

Here are some functional vision statements:

  • higher learning achievement AND higher engagement
  • creative, happy, collaborative learning
  • experiential, relational, memorable
  • regain our demotivated students without losing anyone in the process

Notice how simple these statements are? You want the statement to work as a sieve or filter for your ideas later in the design process. You can use the vision statement to decide which ideas to pursue. You can't do everything, so what matters most in your immediate context? 


STEP 3: agree to specific team routines or habits

This process is covered in with larger depth and scope in Tutorial 8 - Define Valued Behaviours where it applies to everyone implicated in your design, including students and potentially parents or others. The tree top represents definable behaviours that are normalised and valued in your design.

For the moment, what you can do is agree to some behavioural norms for your current team. These could include matters such as:

  • what is leading and will make final decisions
  • keeping minutes, setting & meeting deadlines
  • what process you agree to follow if a team member lets others down
  • punctuality, and so on.

A sample team agreement is shown below.