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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Maximizing Collective Genius: Bettering Teaching/Learning Communities

I love the notion of "collective genius" and thinking about how we might achieve that with the groups we live and work with.

Maximizing collective genius relies on good transparent, inclusive process.

As I think about this, I believe the following efforts will help to maximize this positive aim:

Effective Use of Lead Time and Vision Setting
Use time effectively. For example, vision for school year 2017-2018 should be set now so that educators can use their summer time to study and read in order to help reach that vision. This kind of lead time helps educators to look for and sign up for the best summer study. The best study programs are typically listed in the early months of the new year, and it takes lead time to apply for those learning events.

Conversation and Decision Making
Talk with and to each other about what role you will play with regard to systemwide vision and efforts. In every school community there are many talents, passions, skills, and interests. Work together to determine how you will best use your collective time, effort, and interest to lead your teaching/learning community forward. Essentially pose the question, "What do we hope to do, and who will do what with this vision in mind?"

What Do We Need to Know?
Determine areas of need and unanswered questions. Figure out how you will fill those needs and answer those questions together. This ties nicely with decisions about summer study.

Identify resources and then work to obtain those resources via budgets, grants, and more.

Cycle of Growth and Improvement
Often cycles of growth and improvement aren't inclusive. What is the best cycle of growth and improvement for a school system? With a classroom perspective, I believe a cycle like this works best:
  • Vision setting: January/February
  • Plans for following year set, work on details: March-June
  • Research/Study: June-August
  • Implement Plans: September - June
Good cycles have to be somewhat parallel with the duality of carrying out plans set the year before while also creating vision for the following years. A good look at processes related to cycles of growth and improvement is important with regard to building better teaching/learning communities, communities that embrace distributive leadership, transparency, and inclusion of all stakeholders.