Tracking the tweets: Leadership lessons from the Christchurch Earthquake at #CEFPINZ13

All the kids are ok’. Humbled by narratives of Christchurch earthquake

We’ve just wrapped up the CEPFI Conference for 2013 in Auckland, it was a challenging, inspiring and, at times, an emotional few days.

So what is CEFPI? The acronym is for Council for Educational Facilities International, in short, t a dialogue between educators and architects. It’s a dialogue of which I am grateful to be part. We learn from each other.

Modern learning environments and design thinking – Get ready to be disrupted!

The regional conference for Australasia  in Auckland was titled ‘Disruption’. A term used to describe innovation and to allude to the significant disruption felt across the nation of New Zealand, but in particular, Christchurch, following the terrible earthquake more than two years ago.

The opening keynote cut through our tough exteriors and touched our hearts as  @terangikawhiti and @mikeachch shared their experiences as school leaders in the context of the earthquake of February 2011. Best summed up in the tweets:

2 Christchurch principles just presented their experience pre, during and post earthquake. Tears on stage.
Best keynote at a CEFPI conference eva from Mike Anderson and John Leonard. Disruption from chch EQ and opportunities moving fwd
Earthquake led Freeville School to redefine community. “Shared a playground but not relationship”  
“Because the staff demeanour and conduct was calm and positive the kids were great” the importance of creating tone & atmosphere
Opportunity from disruption “don’t want things repaired – want a transformation” payback time!

There were important and practical lessons for the future. Social media and offsite servers meant that the key message “all kids are OK” was quickly distributed to the community.

“All kids are Ok” the advantage of offsite server and linking FB ->Twitter -> Text Message during disaster.  
great tip for schools, Facebook and Twitter free and easy communication tools for schools in and out of disruption.
@terangikawhiti at #cefpinz13: redefining community went from ‘what can parents help us with’ to ‘what can we help them with’.

“Never underestimate the immense therapeutic power of the post-it notes” when redevelop & redesigning the schools

How do you bring the community back together after a disaster? FOOD! It gave permission to parents to hang around and talk

We were astounded by the leadership shown by the two school principals. They explained it using the airline cabin crew as a metaphor. No matter what might be happening in flight, the cabin crew remain calm and model the demeanour to the passengers. When parents rushed to the school a teacher was stationed on each gate and helped them to be calm before picking up their children. This demeanour was essential to helping the kids through the day.

Christchurch learning for leaders: look on face, demeanour, walk or run are very important. Keep calm and “cry out of site”

And to finish – there was great appreciation of the two real people who stood before us and their story of hope.

Disruption = opportunity.  Bravery, hope, transformation – inspiring messages shared at #cefpinz13
Not repair program for schools but transformation – let’s not just paint the old boring classrooms #Christchurch
You guys are champions. Thanks @terangikawhiti & @mikeachch representing the story of #Christchurch so beautiful & challenging

“Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi” Let’s hope the old way is done.


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