The board game ‘We Own The School’ is a working method in which pupils, teachers and school leaders have a conversation about ownership. Read about what the game, developed by a group of schools, involves and how to play it at your own school.
The aim of this instrument
The game aims to launch a discussion on the ‘ownership of learning’ and how the school can improve this. According to the schools who developed the game, students and teachers who experience ownership are more motivated. So, the game is an instrument to start and increase ownership within a school.
The game’s foundation
The game is based on the taxonomy of six leadership styles by John Macbeath, in which schools are typified by the kind of leadership. The schools have translated this taxonomy into six types of ownership. These six types form the basis of the game: they stand side-by-side and serve as a characterisation, not as an assessment.
How does it work?
The maximum number of participants per game is six. All the participants are given the option of expressing how they experience the current situation at school, based on a number of propositions (round 1), but also to express what they consider the ideal situation (round 2). After naming a proposition, all the participants put a chip on the board simultaneously with a choice for a particular answer. A moderator reflects on the choices with the participants. The game isn’t just a good instrument to find out how ownership is experienced, but it also provides valuable ideas for the follow-up steps the school can take in the future.
“Interesting to look and see the differences in perception of ownership between colleagues”
Teacher about the game
By now, numerous playing sessions have been organised in schools across the Netherlands and beyond, to collect feedback and finetune the game. Sebastian Blanck, team leader UniC: “During a student arena, I played ‘We Own The School’ with several students. We focused on our school exams, in particular. It was one of the best arenas, so far. The outcome was that students learn more, have more fun and experience a higher level of success in realistic and interdisciplinary projects in which there is room for them to make their own choices. Students experience pressure when it comes to exams and deadlines, and predominantly perceive exams as a snapshot. Thanks to the game, we were able to unveil this within 45 minutes. An eyeopener for the school leaders, governors and teachers present.”
“I would like to play it in my class, as it’s an easily accessible way of thinking along as a student.”
According to a student speaking about the game
To keep the pressure on the development of the game, the schools chose the international education conference ICSEI 2018 in Singapore to present the board game to a larger audience for the very first time. “It was exciting, as we had put our own spin on the scientific literature to turn it into a game. Fortunately, it turned out to be a success: the game has been requested from all over the world and the original author of the basic theory behind the game, John Macbeath, was even presented with a specimen of the game”, Henk Woudenberg, former team leader at Werkplaats Kindergemeenschap.
Order the game
Schools can order an English version of the game from the website www.weowntheschool.nl. In addition, schools can file a request for being coached in playing the game.