I am lucky enough to be the Headteacher at Womaston School, MacIntyre situated on the Welsh side of the Powys/Herefordshire border.
Prior to my appointment I spent many hours on the MacIntyre website preparing for my interview. This introduced me to the term ‘Great Interactions’ and the ten key facilitation skills that are the pre-requisite to person centred working. Fine words but what do they actually mean in reality? Haven’t great interactions been around for years?
The view from my office allows me the opportunity to observe staff engaging with our students. The other week I watched as one of our female students happily walked past with her teacher Pam. Was this the same student who only a few days previously had forcibly re-arranged the furniture in our study area?
As I watched it was obvious that Pam has invested a lot of time in developing a relationship with her. This was evident in Pam’s eye contact, her active listening, positioning and the warmth of her body language.
Their conversation was centred around the incident in the study, particularly the emotions that the student had experienced and the strategies she could utilise if she felt the same way again.
A few days after this I watched the very same student pacing up and down outside my window, in a heightened state of anxiety. She was verbalising her thoughts and I recognised key phases that she and Pam had shared in their conversation. She was able to self-moderate her behaviour and return to her scheduled activity.
Perhaps I have just witnessed the benefit of a Great Interaction? It’s not just the ‘then’ and ‘now’ but the lasting effects that positively impact on all the people that MacIntyre supports.