MacKillop Catholic Regional College is a secondary school in Werribee, Victoria. As one of the first secondary schools in the world to engage with research relating to the use of the Four Rooms of Change in schools, MacKillop College also recognized that they would need to develop new practices as part of the pilot program.
Teachers working with the Children’s Four Rooms in the classrooms at MacKillop College have observed how the program has supported the classes to gel; students were supported in building respect, rapport, empathy and strong relationships with their peers. The teachers were also surprised by the enthusiasm demonstrated by the students themselves for the program, listening skills improved and students demonstrated a real sense of ownership; not just for their own Four Rooms of Change but also for the wellbeing of their classmates. Working with the Classroom Barometers, in addition, to the Children’s Four Rooms, also proved a powerful tool in the classroom situation.
The students were buoyed by witnessing that the majority felt safe and contented and that the class had gelled. Through the discussion, the students were able to recognize that they had achieved this by listening to one another and accepting each other for who they are. The senior teachers also felt strongly that the program had assisted in the development of students’ emotional literacy with significant and measurable improvements in literacy scores over the period of the trial when compared to the control group. In addition the Four Rooms of Change created a common language of feelings and emotions for young people who were entering and experiencing adolescence; assisting the students to validate themselves and each other with what the teachers felt was an impressive level of maturity.
Testimonials from MacKillop College, Australia:
“The Four Rooms of Change has invigorated my teaching. No longer am I guessing how students are feeling. I can directly ask students about their welfare as they understand that to have a better classroom climate that’s what I will do. I do believe that little, if any bullying occurs in the classroom. If it occurs outside the class at recess or lunch, the Four Rooms of Change gives a forum to discuss and develop strategies as to how best handle the situation. I will be very interested to follow how this particular class fares next year. I hope that they will be encouraged to use The Four Rooms of Change and as a result further grow as empathetic individuals and continue to support one another as a learning group.”
Sue Dineen, Year 7 Teacher
“We have discovered that the Four Rooms of Change isn’t so much a program per se but more of a ‘way of being’. We are inspired and renewed and want to move forward by using the Four Rooms of Change at two critical year levels next year. A lasting impression was one where the fifty Year 7 students, ready to set out for their annual migration to the next year level, were posed a question on their final day; ‘Given the opportunity, would you take the Four Rooms of Change with you into Year 8?’ Every student unequivocally said ‘Yes!’”
Steve Higham, Deputy Principal Teaching & Learning, Years 7-9
“The Four Rooms of Change has helped me put ‘wellbeing’ at the centre of my teaching. It has given me a way of keeping a finger on the ‘pulse’ of my classroom’s overall wellbeing and has had a significant and important effect upon my classroom practice and interaction with my students. Most classrooms are hectic places in which individuals can sometimes get lost, overlooked or just forgotten especially if they are a little quiet, shy, reserved or don’t give the teacher or other students a ‘hard time’. The Four Rooms of Change enabled each child to have a voice, everyday, in the classroom without having to actually ‘speak up’. The success or otherwise of The Four Rooms of Change is, I believe, in its simplicity and the common understanding that all stakeholders have in its process.”
John Glaubitz, Year 7 Teacher
“I feel privileged to be a part of such an important pilot project that has such an impact on young people. I love the proactive approach, rather than the reactive approach, because this not only helps prevent bullying to a large degree, but develops a caring atmosphere in the classroom that creates a bond between the students with each other and with their teacher. I’ve witnessed this in 2011 with the pilot classes and we are compelled to continue on, to give other students the opportunity to have a more conducive learning environment that includes improved emotional intelligence. To be in the frontline of introducing such a positive concept into our College is an honour and a delight. My three colleagues and I have faith and confidence that we have happened upon something that is not only significant, but is life changing. I look forward to the expansion and growth of this way of being, because every child deserves the opportunity to learn what benefits can come from positive change, real empathy and a deeper understanding of those around them.”
Jan Enright, Director of Student Wellbeing, Years 7 & 8