4 Feb 2015

Tribes TLC training (in review)

The Tribes TLC mission:“to assure the healthy development of every child in the school community so that each has the knowledge, skills & resiliency to be successful in our rapidly changing world.”

This year I had the opportunity to facilitate with my colleague, Julia Horner, a Tribes TLC training at the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB).  We first met in late November and again in late January.  It was an incredibly energizing experience and I probably learned more than I shared.  As a group, we were made up of mostly new teachers to the WQSB- but had a variety of teaching experience (first year to 25 years!).  It is so powerful to have such different perspectives and experiences together in one spot.  This post is an attempt to sum up some of what happened during these amazing days.

For more information on Tribes TLC, please go to their website:

I am also very grateful to my supervisor/mentor Dr. Ruth Kane and colleague/mentor Dr. Linda Radford for asking me some challenging questions regarding this training and pointing me to Dragonfly consulting’s aboriginal perspective on tribes- – which definitely resonated with me as I engaged in the training.

It is important to note that the Tribes TLC training is clearly designed and has a strict implementation process.  Fidelity to the process is critical and as certified trainers (TOT), we have agreed to follow the guidelines as we were taught.  I certainly believe that there is room for an update (the articles & videos would be a great start), yet understand the process is based on research and that there needs to be a protocol to keep it the same as it spreads internationally.  I know that there are real concerns about the fact that it is a program with financial ties.  As well, although it never claims to ‘own’ the activities/strategies that are used- people can be heard often talking about ‘tribes’ activities and processes that have been around for a long time in the educational, outdoor ed, leadership and NGO world.  That said, I am still a strong supporter of the process as it really does give some practical tools for teachers to help make their schools “safe, caring and motivational for all.”  We have to start somewhere!

It was a wonderful 4 days with wonderful educators.  I think we had the opportunity to make some great bonds that will stay with us throughout our careers.  I also hope that we will be making a difference for our students and their classroom experiences.  Isn’t what this what it is all about?  In the end, I had a blast and was so happy that I agreed to do the training; I hope my colleagues felt the same.  Here is a photo of our group (we are missing a few people!):

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It was mentioned that it would be so much fun to all work together in a school- a school that would be made up of these qualities:

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How great would that be??  At least we can take the first steps in our own classrooms.

I am also attaching the sheets of our strategies- unfortunately, we were unable to get a photo of the first 2 days of training with the page numbers…but I hope that this helps.  Thanks everyone!!

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As requested, here are a couple of the extras that we added to the training:

– The connection between restorative practices philosophy and the Tribes TLC process.  Interesting- they have also made this connection.  See the article on Tribes and Restorative Practice here.

– FISHBOWL- a great strategy to do decision making.  While in a full circle, we had a participant share a concern to the group.  There was a seat opposite the student where participants from the outside circle could jump in, sit and share a suggestion and then return to the outer circle.  There are many variations- check out Student Fishbowl or Teaching Strategy

– Dr. Angela Duckworth and Grit- see the TEDtalk here.  This led to an interesting discussion!

– To support the discussion around Brain Compatible Learning, we read sections from this book that I use with my own children often:

fantastic elastic brain

– On the final day, each group was asked to choose and lead an energizer- they were selected from the Energizer box and we had a lot of fun with all of them!

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– We shared some of our favourite reading to get us thinking/talking.  Here are some of the titles:

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