Sunday, October 20, 2013

How Does Your Communication Grow?

Communication is an essential topic for individuals at all levels of an organization. What is the best way to communicate today when information is available everywhere, and change is happening at rapid rates? What matters?

I noticed in my school system recently, that a large number of communications (announcements) have been collected and sent out as one. That's a positive change as all that information shares a common thread, the format is concise, and the pattern is regular. Once people get in the habit of reading that correspondence, there's little chance they will miss out on important school and community events, and there's little need to send out numerous paper announcements of those events as well which will save time and money.

 I try to send one email out to families from my class each week. Essentially I write what we've done, what we plan to do, important events, and other information that will support our class community. Children are invited to write and publish articles each week in that newsletter as well. I make every effort to share all information related to the classroom with students, families, educators, and leaders. All the newsletters are stored on one Google website for easy reference and review.

What about schools or school systems? What are the best patterns of communication to encourage, inform, and cheer the learning community on? What is the best format for that information? When is unshared information an obstacle, and when is information unshared positive? I believe a weekly memo from a school leader is important as it keeps everyone up to date and on the same page. Similarly I believe that regular correspondence from the system leadership is important too as it's motivating to hear what is happening throughout the organization. When you get a regular message of projects, intent, goals, and vision, you truly feel like part of the team, and you better understand your role in the overall effort.

When educators study or attend conferences, I also believe it should be a professional obligation to share the highlights from that endeavor on a school wide blog, website, or document. The more we teach and inform each other of what we've learned, the more the community will grow with strength, versatility, and collective knowledge.

As you can tell, I like to know more than less, and with that, I like to make decisions about what makes a difference to my work. When I know what's going on in the greater community, system, or school, it's easier to align and inform my practice with common goals and intent.

How you grow the communication streams in your organization matters? Streamlined, consistent, and inclusive communication streams promote a sense of team, shared knowledge, and common investment, and that supports the best of what we can collectively do in schools today.