What is the best way to share ideas? What is the value of inclusive, regular, and transparent share?
How can good process support the development of strong teams, optimal share, and distributive leadership? Why does this matter?
With the belief in mind that TEAM works because Together Everyone Achieves More, I believe that there are structures that we can put in place to strengthen everyone's work. Here are a few ideas.
Establish Norms and Protocols for Open Online and Offline Share
Create vehicles for ready, regular share. One idea is to have a website that includes every grade level. On a page for each grade level, make a chart of the standards and other main categories of teaching/learning. Then leave a space for educators to share questions, ideas, and links related to the standards and other categories. A protocol for the share could exist on the top of the page to lead the share. The protocol might include the following:
- Add your initials to your idea.
- Write with few words and back-up with a link to greater detail for those interested.
- Date your share.
- Delete your share when no longer needed or helpful.
Begin the Year by Discussing Main Teaching/Learning Goals, Dates, and Assessments
Make sure that everyone is on the same page with regard to the main teaching/learning goals, dates, and timeline. Essentially make sure that everyone agrees with the big picture plan of what we're teaching and when we need to reach that goal. Do not make this too tight, and give educators the opportunity to plan the year with their best knowledge, experience, and response to context which includes who their students are and what they need to succeed.
Leave Room for Individual Ingenuity and Personalization
Provide the goals and let teachers teach in ways that they deem right and good. This will support autonomy, mastery, and purpose--three attributes that have been found to invigorate work place success, attributes detailed in Pink's book, Drive.
Regular Meetings of Share with Good Process
Work with small grade-level teams, school teams, and system teams with good process to share program strengths, new ideas, and research. Broadly share the good work of those teams so that everyone profits from everyone else's good ideas and work. Typically when the broad teaching/learning team of students, families, educators, administrators, leaders, and community members understand what we've accomplished, what we are currently doing, and where we are headed, there is better collective effort, share, and team. Also good share limits redundancy and wasted time and effort.
Analyze and Assess
At the start of the year, as Hattie suggests in his book, Visible Learning for Teachers, Maximizing Impact on Learning, decide what success will look like. For example, the goal may be that every child masters five new standards--standards that they show a child does not know on initial, early year assessments. I will have to think about this with regard to details, and mostly I believe this goal will differ from system to system. In general, for my practice, success to me means that almost every child reaches proficiency on state standards and demonstrates belief in self, interest, and enthusiasm for the learning. For those that fall far from grade-level standards, my goal is that they develop greater skill in specified areas, areas determined by the teaching team, and also demonstrate belief in themselves, interest, and enthusiasm in learning the topic.
Too often what prevents good teaching and learning is the lack of idea share systems and meaningful, effective process. The more we share what works well and help one another, the better we will provide a strong, collaborative program that maximizes our "collective genius."