Professional development training for teachers

Michael Durrant is increasingly being engaged to conduct inservice training in a positive, strengths and Solution-Focused approach in schools for staff groups from individual or groups of schools. Training has usually been one full day, involving all the staff from the school (sometimes with some participants invited from associated or feeder schools). Shorter versions of the training have been presented to specific groups (the school Welfare Committee, or the School Executive, for example) — however, a full day is recommended if participants are going to begin to explore actual TOOLS and skills.

The schools for which Michael has conducted this training include:

  • Shore School (school executive retreat — half-day)
  • Glen Eden Intermediate School, Auckland, NZ (all staff — full-day)
  • Moorefields Girls High School, Sydney (all staff — full-day)
  • Inaburra Christian High School, Bangor, NSW (welfare staff — two-days)
  • Rosebank College, Five Dock, NSW (all staff — full-day)
  • St John Bosco Primary School, New Plymouth, NZ (all staff — full-day)
  • James Ruse High School, Sydney (school executive — three hours)
  • Barker College, Sydney (all staff — three hours)
  • Daramalan College, Canberra (all staff — full-day)
  • James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange, NSW (all staff — full-day)
  • Western Cape College, Weipa, QLD (senior and welfare staff — 2 separate full-days)
  • ... and many more

Training includes extensive notes, a combination of presentation, group discussion and practice exercises. The emphasis is on PRACTICAL tools for more useful conversations with students.


Typical one-day training program


First session

  • Interviewing exercise to reflect on strengths
  • An example of finding what's already working and building on that
  • What does the Solution-Focused approach tell us about change?
  • Ideas from Positive Psychology offer a way to conceptualise strengths and success
  • "Why don't they just suspend the teachers?" — video of an interview with a "difficult" high-school boy, to demonstrate Solution-Focused principles in action

Second session

  • Resilience in the school context — what does the research tell us?
  • An example of school that used resilience as the foundation for everything they did
  • Building on strengths has always been a part of effective pedagogy
  • Contrasting the way we think about learning and the way we think about behaviour
  • Combating negativity in the school context — principles and actual examples —"SABRE"
  • An actual interview between a teacher and Year 8 student
  • Discussion of how the principles of SABRE were reflected in that interview

Third session

  • Solution-Focused tools — a different language for conversations with students
  • Examples of different conversations
  • "WAGS" — a framework for 5-minute Solution-Focused conversations
  • Exercise — practising WAGS interviews
  • "WOWW" — Working on What Works with a whole class
  • Solution-Focused ideas in whole-school policy


Contact Michael Durrant for more information.