Tribes - A New Way of Learning and Being Together

Students learn a set of collaborative skills so they can work cooperatively and productively in long-term groups (tribes).
The focus is on how to:

  • help each other work on tasks
  • set goals and solve problems
  • monitor and assess progress
  • celebrate achievements

Students achieve because they:

  • feel included and appreciated by their peers and teachers
  • are respected for their different abilities, cultures, gender, interests and dreams
  • are actively involved in their own learning
  • have positive expectations from others that they will succeed.

The Tribes process is an essential part of day to day interactions at all levels within the school. Parents refer to the Tribes agreements and they are now a common language across the school community. Tribes is not a pull out program and so supports and extends understandings across the curriculum. It is compatible with the learnings we have gained through involvement in programs such as Covey, De Bono, Advocacy, You Can Do It and Quality Schools initiatives.
The clear purpose of Tribes is to assure the healthy development of every student so that each one has the knowledge, skills and resiliency to be successful in a rapidly changing world.
Initially our work with Tribes focussed on change processes relating to relationships, connectedness, conflict resolution and student engagement through inclusion. These elements are now innate in the school’s culture and the focus has moved to curriculum development.
Staff work collaboratively and there is a shared sense of ownership of school programs as a whole. They are supportive of each other and have established positive mentoring relationships.
The learning of academic material and self-responsible behaviour is assured because teachers utilize methods based on brain compatible learning, multiple intelligences, co-operative learning and social development research when planning for learning.


The “thinking curriculum” drives the planning agenda.
Teachers are designers of curriculum, risk takers willing to step outside the boundaries and do things differently, knowing that we are working together to improve student outcomes.
Our students enjoy diverse learning opportunities and are empowered to try new strategies. Their interpersonal skills are greatly enhanced and they know they are valued members of the whole school community. They raise issues, use initiative, share ideas and willingly take risks in their learning.
Tribes is a multi-layered process and we all work at it all the time.