Better answers for the school community

“I find myself more hopeful. Sometimes when looking at how things are going in the world, it is worrisome. I-Think tools help to reframe that thinking, promoting the possibility that there is always a better way....We need people to have skills to be able to really probe into each other’s thinking and be more accepting and open to many different ways of thinking. It is really good for our world to have citizens who can look at conflict and problems and see new ways of understanding each other.”
— Audrey Hensen

Audrey Hensen has long advocated for student-centred learning. When a teacher at her school used Integrative Thinking tools in their classroom, Audrey saw exactly what she was looking for: student-centred learning that promoted amazing outcomes. Audrey seized the opportunity to share these new tools among her colleagues Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), planting the seed for a tightly-knit educator community in Integrative Thinking.

As a core member of the design team for I-Think's work in HWDSB, Audrey both supports educators in their professional learning and uses the tools in her own leadership practice. In this Learning Exchange video, Audrey describes how she used the Integrative Thinking process as a tool to problem solve and create better models in her role as a Principal. 

As a methodology for problem solving with her team, Audrey loves the feeling that Integrative Thinking enables: 

“ It is one of the first times that I have come across a process wherein there isn’t a winner and a loser, and that feels very refreshing. When you have winners and losers, there are always people who walk away, who may pay lip service to a decision, but do not buy in. They have no stake in the decision or process. So by having everyone involved in a win-win experience, people belong, they co-own decisions, and they invest. It’s that investment in the outcome of the problem that will make a solution or decision work.”

Ultimately, these new interactions changed the approach to problem solving of all involved. 

"What Integrative Thinking does, in using the tools, is that it forces you to change your stance: the way you view your relationships with others, the way you view your relationships between teachers and students, teachers and teachers, teachers and parents.  So the relationships you have to develop to be able to be successful at using the tools, give you a set of skills that go beyond pedagogy.  They give you an ability to model a new way of thinking, learning, and problem solving that become almost the hidden curriculum of engaging with students in a classroom."

What advice do you have For other Leaders?

"Look at problems as opportunities to learn more - not only about issues, but about yourself as a leader. When facing complex choices, Integrative Thinking tools can help you to gather the voices of stakeholders, and collaboratively partner with others in richer, invitational  and more meaningful ways. The positive and reflective nature of the processes provides opportunities to share ideas and thinking to make more informed decisions that reflect a wide variety of experiences and viewpoints. Recognizing and building upon the strengths of each team member helps to make for better choices, ones that others can buy into, and can enhance the professional development of everyone involved. The processes invite the kind of professional collaboration we need as administrators to navigate our way through this vibrant, and dynamic time in education."

Read how Audrey used Integrative Thinking as a Principal to think differently about timetabling.  

For teachers and students, Audrey experienced how the tools of Integrative Thinking shift the relationships and experiences in the classroom. 

Listen to Audrey speak about how Integrative Thinking has been transformative for students and teachers alike in her school board: