Tournament of Minds

Parap Primary School

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.

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

Solution Fluency was introduced to our School in 2016. I work in special education and the results for me have been amazing. I have used Solution Fluency with a group of my gifted and talented students and it has truly changed the way that I work with this group of learners.

Lisa Doyle

Parap PS

Lee Watanabe-Crockett has been very supportive in this process. He came to the school and presented at a whole-staff professional development day early in the year. This allowed us to get a good understanding of what it was all about, and he gave us the tools to start using Solution Fluency in the classroom.

Lisa Doyle

Parap PS

For the gifted students that I work with, they are now beginning to 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.

Lisa Doyle

Parap PS

What does it take to inspire

meaningful change?

Learning is an authentic lifelong process, one that happens in 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 own well-being and success.

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“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.”

With the help of Solution Fluency and a special 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 success?

“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 very 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.

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“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 do we measure

growth and progress?

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  • 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.
  • Students see that learning doesn’t come from a place of doing but from a place of being in the moment and trusting the process.
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  • 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.
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  • 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 continue 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.”