Welcome to The Playbook. The Playbook is a newsletter focused on Learning and Leadership. Every four weeks we bring you an update of upcoming professional learning and some leadership inspiration.

Customised Professional Learning 

Are you responsible for arranging professional Learning for your: network, school leadership team, or region? Call WAPPA to talk about how we can help! WAPPA can come to you to deliver any of our highly sought-after professional learning programs. 

Coming up at WAPPA in Term 2

Making the transition from Deputy to Principal is multifaceted. For some hints, tips and support to make this big career leap join us for:

Program:                    Making the Leap to Principal
1 Day, 8.30 - 4.00 pm
Next offering:           18 May 2021
Where:                        WAPPA, West Leederville

Enrol here!

Provides four practical frameworks that help and support you to tackle the most difficult conversations with confidence.

Program:                    Fierce Conversations
Duration:                   2 Days, 8.30 to 4.00 pm
Next offering:           2 and 3 June 2021
Where:                        WAPPA, West Leederville
Enrol here!

Do you qualify for a WAPPA Professional Learner Award? 

WAPPA Professional Learner Awards recognise WAPPA members’ commitment to life-long learning and a commitment to developing self and others. It acknowledges and celebrates the professional skills and evolution of the WAPPA member, distinguishing and setting them apart from those who simply “attend” training.  

The criteria assess professional learning at four levels: 

All eligible applicants in each level will receive:
• A framed certificate 
• A professional learner pin  
• Consideration for the Outstanding Professional Learner of the Year in their relevant level.  

Outstanding Professional Learner of the Year winner/s will receive a voucher for a WAPPA professional learning course or WAPPA Conference in 2022.
Click here for full details.


The Paradox Mindset 

Do you sometimes feel like you are struggling with too many competing demands? 

If you answered YES you may be experiencing the tensions of paradox. At the most basic level, a paradox is a statement that is self-contradictory because it contains two components that are both true, but in general, cannot be true at the same time. On the surface, it appears that embracing and pursuing one will inevitably hamper the other. In paradox language, we call the ends of the paradox poles and we wrestle with the pressure to push towards both poles at the same time. 

Educational leaders constantly face paradoxes in school, for example, should we embrace change or support stability within the school, establish close relationships or keep a proper distance, trust one’s staff or keep an eye on what is happening. Some poles of paradoxes are shown in the picture below.  


Experienced leaders understand that pursuing any one of these paradox poles could lead us to sacrifice the other.  

However, most people prefer clarity (humans are hard-wired for consistency – we experience cognitive dissonance when there is an apparent inconsistency) so it can be tempting to select one pole of the paradox. The problem is that choosing one pole of the paradox leaves us exposed to the downsides of the other pole.  Schools that fully embrace change may burn out their employees. Schools that fully embrace stability may be unable to adapt to a changing community or system.  

Adopt a Paradox Mindset 

A paradox mindset means considering the world with a “both/and” approach rather than an “either/or”. The paradox mindset suggests an alternative perspective, accepting and learning to live with the tensions associated with competing demands. It is understanding that these competing demands can’t be eliminated.  

Adopting a paradox mindset allows us to accept and even embrace tensions as natural and just the way things are sometimes. A paradox mindset pushes us to shift from an either/or mentality to a both/and mentality. Rather than accepting the apparent trade-offs between the different poles of the paradox we challenge them and seek to embrace them. Rather than making decisions about which pole of the paradox to embrace we develop more nuanced decision that helps us to understand when to embrace one or the other pole. For example, rather than always being flexible with your schedule, which leaves no time for planned strategic work we may develop a richer approach when we limit flexibility at times to finish the School Plan or School Report, but let your daily plan retreat at times when someone needs your immediate attention (can’t wait).  

Thus rather than emphasising which pole to emphasise overall, we learn to embrace both poles simultaneously and occasionally allow our schools to drift slightly towards one side or the other.  

Recognising and learning to manage paradox is a core leadership skill. Great leaders learn how to embrace both poles simultaneously.  

Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any ideas, questions or comments on WAPPA’s Professional Learning. 

WAPPA is proud to have the support of the following partners


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