Case Studies

Case Study: Tournament of Minds

Lisa Doyle of Parap Primary School knows how important it is for her gifted students to realize that learning is a lifelong journey, not just a destination.

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Parap Primary School, situated in Australia’s Northern Territory, first opened its doors in 1958. The school offers students a creative, caring and nurturing environment for learning, with dedicated and experienced teachers providing a positive and enriching program that genuinely appreciates the individual needs and interests of each child.

Parap Primary School Website

Lisa Doyle of Parap Primary School knows just how important it is for her gifted students to realize that learning is an authentic lifelong journey, not just an end-of-the-semester destination.

With the help of Solution Fluency, Lisa showed her students their gifts and the paths they could put them on in a whole new light by letting them take the lead. This is their story.

How to we inspire lasting and meaningful change

Learning is an authentic lifelong process, one that happens at the moment. It’s not a destination or an end-of-semester grade. It’s a journey both for living and for life, and Lisa Doyle, a special education teacher at Parap Primary School, knew just how important it was for her gifted learners to gain this awareness for their well-being and success.

“Some of my gifted students carried a burdened sense of I am gifted, what does that mean,” Lisa says. “Anxiety crept into much of their daily lives. Some of the kids used to say that giftedness was their curse.”

tournament of minds team 1

A team proudly represents Parap Primary at Tournament of Minds

With the help of Solution Fluency and a particular program focusing on letting participants express their unique talents in the best possible ways, Lisa showed her students how to see their gifts and the paths they could lead them on in a whole new light. 

How do we plot a path to sucess

“I entered my students into the Tournament of Minds this year. The students were from a range of year levels and a range of abilities,” explains Lisa. The Tournament of Minds is a unique problem-solving program for teams of students from both the primary and secondary years.

One of the most challenging facets of the TOM is that during the six weeks leading up to it, all work is done independently. That means teachers can’t offer any guidance to students while they craft their presentations.

parap ps at TOM

Parap Primary students at Tournament of Minds prepare to compete

“Solution Fluency became our lifeline as, although I could not offer any help or ideas at all, we could still talk about the 6Ds and where they were in their journey of solving their problem,” Lisa recalls.

In the end, the disconnect didn’t keep Lisa’s gifted learners from achieving success, as she reveals. “My team won their division for Tournament of Minds and will represent the NT in Adelaide at the Australasian Pacific Finals later this year.”

How best can we measure growth and progress


Solution Fluency was introduced to Parap Primary in 2016. Lisa works in special education, and the results for her have been amazing. "I have used Solution Fluency with a group of my gifted and talented students, and it has genuinely changed the way that I work with this group of learners," she claims.

  • Students have started to realize their potential, and they are more willing to take risks in their learning.
  • They are more confident in their ability to learn and to seek information since topics have relevance for them.
  • Learning doesn’t come from a place of doing, but from being in the moment and trusting the process.


    A few years ago, Wabisabi president Lee Watanabe-Crockett came to Parap Primary and presented Solution Fluency at a whole-staff professional development. This allowed teachers to get a good understanding of what it was all about, and receive the tools to start using Solution Fluency in the classroom. These are the results:

    • Teachers realize that working with Solution Fluency means shifting responsibility for learning to the learners themselves.
    • There is no pressure to craft the “perfect” lesson since Solution Fluency is an organic process promoting meaningful, authentic learning.
    • Teaching and learning have become more enjoyable and authentic journeys for both teacher and student.

    School Culture

    After using Solution Fluency, the staff and students of Parap Primary understand that learning is really an authentic process that happens in the present moment. It is not a mere destination they have to get to or a result they have to achieve at the end of the semester.  It’s happening all around them right now, and it is truly transformational.

    • Working with Solution Fluency has given rise to better teamwork, happier learning environments, improved well-being, and outstanding problem-solving.
    • Learning is more fluid, organic, and more enriching as a result.
    • Solution Fluency provides a pedagogical approach that puts children at the center of the learning.

      How do we ensure learning continues to improve and excel

      After their success with Solution Fluency, Lisa’s gifted students have a much different view of what their learning is all about. “They are beginning to make the shift in their understanding that learning doesn’t come from a place of doing but rather from a place of being in the moment and trusting the process of mindful learning,” Lisa observes.

      “The biggest benefit for me is that the students have started to realize their potential—we talk about them being potent just as they are—and they are more willing to take risks in their learning.”

      As for using Solution Fluency in her continuing instructional practices, Lisa has no plans for slowing down. “I would like to continue my work as a coach and leader of future-focused learning. I want to encourage all staff to use the Solution Fluency process as much as possible and to trust that the students are more attuned to future-focused learning than we could imagine.”

      Case Study: Tournament of Minds—Parap PSCase Study: Tournament of Minds—Parap PS

      Case Study: Tournament of Minds—Parap PS
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