Saturday, December 23, 2017

Collaboration and Decision Making

A new idea was born out of necessity in the schoolhouse, yet the new idea experienced pushback and silence too. What are teachers to do?

We advocated for the idea. We cited evidence that supports the new idea, and now we will wait to likely discuss the idea at an upcoming meeting. In the end, the final decision will not be ours, but instead decided by others who often make decisions for us.

I will listen to the debate, and I will follow the resulting directive.

So often new ideas arise, and those new ideas are discussed with the team. In the best of circumstances, we arrive at a compromise--a better idea that arises from the team debate and discussion. In other situations, the idea is defeated without compromise or affirmation of the idea's rationale. For example, my advocacy to continue to use Khan Academy has been unsuccessful, and we are no longer able to use that tool in my school. Last year our school was sixth in the state with regard to high performing fifth grade math students, and I'm sure that, in part, this high rating was due to the use of Khan Academy, yet the tool has been dismissed from our list of acceptable tools. The decision made was out of my hands, and so I'm following the directive in place.

Our advocacy and ideas will not always be affirmed or accepted. Our debate and discourse will sometimes result in decisions that we would not make, and that happens in every organization and to every employee at one time or another.

It's best to use our best respect, knowledge, and experience to read, research, try-out, and then advocate for ideas that matter, and it's best if those ideas are entertained, discussed, debated, and then decided upon.

If we just go along and not advocate for what we think is right and good, our organizations will stay stagnant and not move forward. Yet, with that advocacy, we have to be willing to lose at times; to see our ideas denied. Hopefully in most situations good ideas brought to the table will receive a good dose of honest debate and discussion before final decisions are made, the kind of honest debate and discussion that honors the experience, outlook, knowledge, and skill of all who are involved in the situation, goal, or outcome related to the idea.