I came across Tom Haskinís blog Grow Change Learnand his post the four phases of collaboration. He writes that it is human nature for strangers to come together one step at a time. Some people never realize the full potential of a collaborative relationship. He mentions Web 3.0 that I wrote about in the previous post. Web 3.0 is the idea of building collaborative communities.
Read his post and please share your thoughts about collaboration.
I find it interesting that as I consider what response I might have to the 4 steps statement, it seems easy to verify (if only in my own mind) that I have observed these steps toward and during collaboration in students I have taught over the past 4 decades. Less easy to recognize might be the same 4 steps relative to colleague interaction, although steps 1 and four are recognizeable.
Russ - what I have seen from adults, especially those not ready to change what they are doing, is all four of the steps. Lots of resistance. It is difficult to change if all factors are not easily there for change to happen. Teachers will make steps to change if the environment is conducive to it - if they are able to take risks and it is okay for them to fail. Failure is an important step to actually have teaching practice or leadership change. How do you know you are doing something right if you continue to do the same things that worked? always....
#2 - Jockeying for position - not sure this is appropriate for teachers. Look at teachers now - more concerned with accountability and doing what is asked of them. Many new teachers just want to make sure they have a job - a good job with a good staff and good administrator. Most teachers go into the profession to make a difference and then their eyes are opened when they are put in a classroom - maybe with support - maybe with a mentor - maybe with too many students.
#3 - Exploring common ground - this is where learning communities support teachers and administrators. Talking to others with similar circumstances is so reassuring. "You mean I'm not the only one with this problem?" "How did you resolve it?" This is why learning communities work - not reinventing the wheel over and over again. Helping others with similar issues share and learn from each other.
That's where #4 Playing off each other does work. So maybe I wouldn't use the same steps but these are good ideas to start a good discussion. Thanks!
I have little argument for what you have written and have seen much of what you mentioned. The lone exception might be the last sentence in the first paragraph. If I am doing something for a long time, it is my responsibility to be sure that it is the right thing. The allowance I am willing to make is that something can be right to do and yet not necessarily be the BEST! I not only want to do the right thing but also what is best for students. Thank you for your response.