In our middle school , we were considering our collective 125+ years experience among us as educators. As we combine all the experiences of the group, we conciser those resources and think what an untapped resource of internal talent.
To glean any benefit from those experience, these folks must feel comfortable to share. All opinions must matter. All ideas must be valued and esteemed worthy of ponder. This state of fluid and dynamic exchange of ideas permeates the intent behind the PLC model and true collaboration.
This famous university pays homage to what artist?
For extra credit, what is the Zip Code of this University?
How would this university make a decision that impacted current students, faculty and alumni? One person?
What does it mean to make a collective decision, especially based on data? We all vote on the solution? We draw straws? We follow the leaders decision? We all share in the process? We all share in the results? We all share in the responsibility? What are the indicators that verify a truly collaborative environment? Let's explore.
At our school, where we are working to put ourselves on the map being a positive, relational and student centered building. Our district has built in regular biweekly time for teacher collaboration. Working together and collaborating during these opportunities allows folks the chance to share collective wisdom gleaned from other professionals. An environment that stifles these discussions looses out on the vast experience of the entire team. Author Jim Collins refers to this involvement his book Good to Great. He claims an open environment lead by a Level 4 leader, requiring himself to be in the middle of every situation sitffles participation, but a level 5, willing to share the leadership but retain the responsibility fosters the open exchange of ideas. It is in this optimal environment, the healthy banter or considerations of ideas becomes the highest value. Sharing these ideas as a team and in the public setting helps derive satisfactory solutions, meeting the most number of participants needs. This is an example of synergy impacting the good of the entire group and raising the bar for all.
Also vital to solving problems is the identification and articulation of the authentic concerns. What is the real issue, and what are the dependant and independent variables? Often in team settings, each separate perspectives add to the big picture, filling out details and making clear the true depth and intensity of the issues, like agility, talent, hard work and the extra effort necessary to develop and advance. A simple solution may be part of the answer but the problem often has many shades of gray or nuances among the people involved.
Finally, in a truly collaborative environment, a collective decision seems to form as consensus is reached altogether. The goal is to have every person feel comfortable to share in the group setting. Our decisions are then based on a more accurately described problem, with more people involved with the articulation of that problem. Then, with more options and alternatives explored, the best for most parties hopefully rise as the final solution, yet fluid enough for adjustments along the way!
This all sounds good, but is it possible? Can group dynamics work effectively and efficiently enough to warrant pursuing this type of leadership? Let's make collective decisions using data together to see verify that it works!
Great job Middle School Staff. Wonderful kick-off to school year 2012-13.
(Last weeks quiz answer: Airpliners fly up to around 30,000 feet above sea level or just over 5 1/2 miles.)