Working Together


“None of us is as smart as all of us” 

Kenneth H. Blanchard


Tinker School uses a team building tool called Gung Ho! It simply means working together.


The most important animal is the squirrel and being at the bottom of the totem it is the cornerstone for successful team work. Activities have to be meaningful, purposeful and worthwhile to the people involved.

As part of our CHAMP course it is the basis of creating a success in all areas where people work together. Here we refer to it as the Tinker Totem. It emphasises the qualities and capabilities necessary to work together. By including these animals into a Totem, it emphasises the qualities and capabilities necessary for tinker students to work together. It is taken from the characteristics of four animals:

Spirit of the Squirrel

"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction."  John F Kennedy

The squirrel is engaged in the meaningful and worthwhile activity of collecting and storing acorns. It is motivated by the survival finger which shapes its behaviour. In collecting acorns its belonging, fun and empowered fingers are also being exercised.

Way of the Beaver

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”   Mahatma Gandhi

No matter what the age of the beaver, when building a dam together, big beavers do big beaver stuff, and little beavers do little beaver stuff. They treat each other as being capable of doing their work. They do not interfere in the activities of other beavers. Together they get the dam made.


Gift of the Goose

"Celebrate the little things"

When the geese take to the air, there is much honking by the other geese. It all sounds of great encouragement as these huge birds take flight. A celebration of how the most awkward and heaviest of birds succeed in flying. All endeavours are to be encouraged, and all outcomes are to be celebrated.

Who Owns the Monkey?

"If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."  Abraham Maslow 

Tinker School aims to develop the capability of all students who work and play here. As educators if we are presented a problem by a student we tend to want to solve it for them. Who owns the Monkey is a process of managing capability development, learning to learn, problem solving, building resourcefulness and hence capability.

What is a Monkey?

A monkey is a problem or the next step in a process, such as is found in many of the project activities we do at Kidz Inc. It usually arises when a student encounters a problem or gets stuck or lacks confidence.

Who owns the Monkey?

We want the person working the project to own the monkey. When they get stuck their first instinct is to unload the monkey onto us to deal with. This is to be discouraged as we become monkey jugglers and are less effective in managing their capability development. However, by using pertinent and inquiring questions, a solution can be found.

Managing the Monkey

There are two key steps in managing monkeys:

Give them back the Monkey

When the student becomes stuck and wants to know the next step, present the monkey back to them and ask:

“What do you think is the next step?”
“What do you think needs to happen?”
Together, come up with a feasible solution

Keep a Health Check on the Monkey

Follow up on the progress of the monkey with the student.

Give them a time frame on when the progress of the monkey will be checked. We do not want any dead monkeys. The student may have a problem, but working together all monkeys can be solved effectively.



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