Bruce Collins

Academic Director: Innovation and Creativity
Speaking at


Growing Learning Organisations: Challenging Shame Cultures in Schools

Drawing on Brené Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability, and Peter Senge’s work on creating learning organisations, this session will explore how shame cultures in schools limit teachers and students from being their best. Shame cultures in schools are often perpetuated – amongst others – by a relentless pursuit of so-called innovative teaching practices which in many contexts is synonymous with untested tech integration. Can we create environments in our schools where teachers feel that they are “enough”, have the freedom to voice their opinions and debate global educational trends with rigour? Can our schools become the kind of learning organisations where teachers thrive and students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to face the next chapter of their lives with confidence? In this session, leaders will also be challenged to reconsider how they manage people and processes in their schools.


Bruce teaches English at St Alban’s College in Pretoria, where his primary role is Academic Director: Innovation and Creativity; a role which includes teacher development and wellness. Passionate about innovation, he is on a journey to understand how innovation and pedagogy intersect in a meaningful and evidence-based way. Furthermore, Bruce’s is convinced – based on the work of Brene Brown and others – that wholehearted schools celebrate vulnerability. He believes that the key to unlocking teachers’ potential is to create school cultures in which teachers feel safe and can thrive. Bruce also serves as an Action Research Team Advisor for the International Boys’ Schools Coalition. In his free time, Bruce brews coffee and grows his beard.