Friday, June 01, 2018

Building Team

I have been searching for the source of this great diagram and will add as soon as I find it. 

Field Trip Image
Today we had a nice field trip. Thanks to my colleague's good planning, the trip went well. The good weather helped too. The trip was a historic walking tour of Boston led by the knowledgeable and engaging storyteller guide, Ben Edwards.

Throughout the trip, I was thinking about the topic of team and assessing how our students supported one another as a positive team and where we can continue to work on this.

Then tonight I was reminded of team building with the image above, an image that defines the attributes of an inclusive team.

As I continue to think about team building, I want to think about how we will embed the attributes in the image on a student, family, collegial, and system level.

Foster a Sense of Community
One way we can do this is begin with a close look at the word community. What does that mean?
Next, at the start of the year, students can work together to discuss what a good community looks like--what do we see, how do people act, and what is that important?

We can create signage to remind us on a daily basis of what it means to be a successful, helpful community.

In a broader sense with regard to colleagues and families, it's important to consider what it means to be apart of and support the entire learning team--what can I do to help build a strong family-child-educator-school learning community?

Enable a Sense of Purpose
This begs the question, "Why School." We can tie this into our new history standards with a brief overview of the purpose and history of school. Then we can discuss the following questions:
  • What is the purpose of school today for all of us and for each of us individually?
  • How can we benefit from school?
  • What do we have to do to gain those benefits?
  • How can we help one another to achieve this purpose?
With families, it will be important to relay this sense of purpose with clarity at the start of the school year. It will also be important to continue this discussion with parent-child-teacher conferences so that our collective work is purposeful.

Empower Well-Being
What does it mean to be physically, academically, emotionally, and socially fit? This fitness is well-being. How can we foster routines and practices that forward the well being of everyone in our learning community? This will be another good discussion with students. 

With colleagues and families, it's important to consider what I can do to foster this well-being for my self and for our collegial-, home-, and school teams.

Develop Others and Play to Strengths
It's important that students continually develop their self-knowledge so they know what their strengths are and how to use those strengths to boost their well-being and learning. Similarly, when working with teams, it's critical to understand each others' strengths and capacities in order to promote effective teamwork. 

Model Authenticity
We want to represent and communicate the truth of the matter which includes both high points and points of challenge. Similarly as we work with students, families, and collegial teams we want to be sincere and genuine about our individual and collective goals, and we want to be able to work with honest facts, data, and experiences as we work to develop our programs in ways that matter and make a positive difference.

Instill a Culture of Courage
I find this to be an area of challenge in schools because many still fear risk--instead I find that many choose what's comfortable over trying something new or working to overcome a status-quo that could be challenged in order to make better. How might we be courageous in order to better serve our students--what are those courageous discussions we have to have and what processes will help us to achieve this in sensitive, forward moving ways. 

As I think of a culture of courage, I am wondering how we might work together to courageously improve our programs in the following ways:
  • Better fidelity, depth, quality, and focus related to service delivery and teaching by all educators
  • More purposeful use of formal and informal data to develop our individual and collective practice
  • Evaluate our work together to make better--discuss the challenging issues as well as the issues of strength
  • Look at issues from many vantage points in an effort to truly assess situations well and work for betterment.
In summary, we can begin this conversation with our many teams with the question, How might we work together so that we all feel a sense of belonging, connect to one another, and develop in ways that positively impact the work we do and lives we live?