Monday, 6 July 2015

Trust is fundamental

“My report was based on the idea that it doesn’t matter what programme or initiative you’ve got in place, if you don’t have the trust of the community, they’re not going to engage. It’s about going back to the ‘deep stuff’, and realising that trust is the basis of success. It’s about listening fundamentally, and there’s no secret recipe.”
Noula Kazakoz's reflection in Life-long learning article in NZ Education Gazette, Vol. 94 Num. 9 02 June 2015

As I read the life-long learning article I was reflecting on the job I have just taken on in which, when I am trained, I will stand or fall on the trust I can develop with a cluster of schools; trust with leaders, teachers, students, whanua and aiga, support staff.

I need to take the time and put in the effort to listen to where they are at as individuals and as groups, the groups that make up the whole. To listen, to learn, to develop trust and to contribute as a part.


Maybe it's like an orchestra where each person is listening to themselves play and the people around them as well as the whole. Adjustments are continually made to keep in tempo, in tune, to harmonise etc. so to make the collective beautiful noise. Is there a conductor? Is it in fact an orchestra as yet or a collection of players?

Each player brings their honed skills, their practise - the obligatory 10,000 hours to become an expert. Each is an expert or a yet-to-be expert in their own field, in playing their instrument.  Coming from different espoused theories and actual practice, yet doing the stuff on a day by day basis, the teaching, learning, supporting, challenging, loving.

Do they already listen to one another? Is each point of view and understanding respected even if not agreed with? Can I hear the spoken and the unspoken? Who is not speaking? Is there a group who do not have a voice and can I help to give them one? 

I go in to listen, to learn. To hear and see where change needs to happen. To bring the whole together as the conductor, perhaps, in time. Or maybe I'm not the conductor at all, perhaps a visiting soloist who might take a part for a short time. Yes, the orchestra can learn from me and I from them. But it is they who make the music, who carry on day by day.  

I will be actively listening.


  1. Nicely put Maria. I have been part of a number of communities in my lifetime and what you say here resonates with me. We moved into the community I am currently part of 25 years ago and listening has played a huge part in becoming accepted.

  2. Do you know this clip of the Rain Orchestra?

    I've played it for groups without the video and asked them to just listen and then we discuss what is happening. Some great ideas come out....and then I play it again with the video. I've found it a really great exercise for listening.

    1. Fantastic video. I can well image it being very effective as you suggest using it.