Network and Connect School Program

“I sat next to a colleague I had never thought twice about speaking to. Yet here we were, having the best conversation I’d had in a long time about what matters most to me: improving the way we teach our kids. And now we have a project together.” Participant in the Network and Connect workshop at TRIAS VMBO secondary school in Krommenie, the Netherlands.

Teachers speak with each other often, especially teachers in the same department. They work hard and want to provide children with the best education possible. But between wanting and having is a gap filled with stuff like ‘too little time’, ‘focus on the priorities’, and mostly with not knowing what resources are available and how to access them. NETSHEILA works with schools to clear and close this gap.

This is where NETSHEILA makes a difference. We work with teachers to discover who could be on their team to make their education innovation a reality, and to plan and execute the plan. The NETSHEILA school programs were and continue to be developed with teachers. Teachers are the experts in education. NETSHEILA is the expert in connecting to networks as a resource.

The NETSHEILA school programs

In the introductory program, a group of up to 20 teachers come together three times, for three hours, every six weeks. Teachers learn to express their education-related needs and to have other people understand why they want what they want. They are then invited to look into their own networks of family, friends, colleagues and friends of friends to see who could be useful resources for their colleagues. They choose projects to work on for a six-week period, and in the second workshop the group explores the humps in the road they came across with their projects. Those humps give access to developing and executing a strategic plan, the task of the groups in the second period of six weeks. In the third workshop, the teachers are introduced to the power of working in triads, which requires sharing with each other what their core values are. This marks the completion of the program and the teachers continue to update and implement their strategic plans outside the formal classroom situation.

In the second program, teachers develop their ability to work in triads by practicing working from their core values. They discover that they are able to get more done with greater ease because there are two other people who know who they are and what they want to achieve.

The two teachers in the Krommenie secondary school are now setting up a guidance program for children who have recently lost a parent. Both have experienced the devastating effect of bereavement on their own education. One of the teachers had brought up her idea for the program with the school directors before the Network and Connect workshop, and was rejected. Through the workshop, she found a partner and a team of teachers who pooled their resources to develop a compelling, winning case for a guidance program.


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