When Perspective Matters

When Perspective Matters

By Mr Andy Gordon, Acting Principal

The Radford College community is vibrant, exciting and inspiring. We have so many learning, sporting and cultural activities and celebrations that run alongside and into each other that often, we barely have an opportunity to appreciate what we have just achieved.

Paralleling these activities and celebrations are our learning experiences that come out of the highly effective teaching and learning that happens each and every day in our classrooms. With all of this occurring, both for us as adults and for our students, it is important to keep in mind that our community is made up of many different people with many different ideas and hopes.

I have a favourite saying or belief that goes, “Our point of view is directly related to our viewing point.” By this, I mean many of us will have differing points of view simply because we are looking at the same thing from a different viewing point.

We have a beautiful College community, and there can be times when people don’t or can’t get along with respect and kindness. This is as true for adults as it is for our learners.

Conflicts in any community are inevitable purely because human beings are involved. A conflict doesn’t necessarily mean that one person is right and the other person is wrong. Sometimes, it is simply because people have different viewing points. Keeping this in mind and listening to other people’s points of view should help us to understand where the other person is coming from. Rarely does disagreement result in a fractured relationship; it is judgement that breaks trust and closes lines of communication. Empathy is the beginning of an understanding and humble spirit. I think it is incredibly important that the adults in our community live and model this well.

Conflict resolution is not easy. It relies on maturity and emotional regulation. I have a little saying that says, "Anger and negativity rarely travel alone." By that, I mean there is usually something else going on that may not be obvious yet. However, usually, given time, this will come to the surface. I tend to give people room in their anger and negativity simply because these emotions and actions are usually just vehicles to discovering what is beneath the frustration or disagreement.

When matters arise with your young people, it is also understandable that emotions are high. It is okay to be emotional and to seek clarification and challenge respectfully. At Radford College, we should resolve to always commit to doing this with care for each other. Our heads of year, teachers, and support staff need and deserve a strong working relationship that is grounded in mutual care, warmth and respect with you.

It is important that we, as a community of young people and adults, have the skills, resources and character to resolve conflict appropriately.

Anonymous Correspondence

College leadership recently received anonymous correspondence regarding teaching practices from some ‘friends of Radford’. While we have noted the anonymous correspondence, it is not helpful to resolving conflict or seeking to clarify a different viewpoint. We maintain that in a world in which we know that hope in the future relies on trust, collaboration, and effective communication, anonymous correspondence plays no part. All it does is seek to raise emotions, without the context of the author or authors, and infers that there is not serious enough concern to resolve the challenge or conflict respectfully. When we honestly believe we have something important to discuss or resolve, we must equally be honest enough to have the important conversation with trust, collaboration, and effective communication.