Orange is the new purple

consensus

Wesley College is known for its distinctive purple uniforms, but orange, blue and yellow have recently been seen all over the Elsternwick campus.

As part of their Religious Education and Ethics classes, Year 6 students have been exploring the Uniting Church’s consensus decision-making model whilst undertaking a unit on governance.

Students were taught how to use their coloured cards, how to chair a meeting and how to craft proposals to bring to their peers for decision.

“I was surprised at how enthusiastically the students adopted the process, and how instinctively they understood the consensus model as one way to have kinder conversations about significant issues,” school chaplain Kaylea Fearn said.

The students compared the model to Australia’s democratic parliament to consider the pros and cons of each.

“I think this way of making decisions must lead to most people being content with the outcomes because they can feel that their opinion has been heard and there is less opportunity for conflict,” said one Year 6 student.

Whilst generally positive, another student had mixed feelings about the process.

“My only worries would be that some problems may never be solved or too many compromises would have to be made to make a change that works,” they said.

“Also, each decision took so long, but it was worth it in the end.”

Ms Fearn said that she had been very proud to share the Uniting Church’s consensus decision-making process with the students.

“It is just one of the many ways we as a church try to demonstrate fairness and honouring different voices,” she said.

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