Comments (9)

  1.' vee says:

    Good points. well done. i agree collaboration makes the whole team smarter & stronger.

  2.' ChrisB says:

    When I consider collaboration and your "five things stand out" I am hit between the eyes about the importance of "time". In my experience the resource of time is often overlooked or negelected as people pursue effective collaboration.  In the Christchurch context I think many opportunities for collaboration have been thwarted by the need for things to happen quickly.

    1.' Cheryl Doig says:

      I agree Chris. Collaboration takes time because it relies on the foundations of relational trust. This can’t be rushed by external agendas. 

  3.' Mic says:

    I find the leadership challenging…navigating the complexities and not having the answers when staff are looking at you to have them. Laggards are particularly challenging as they refer to professional dialogue about teaching and learning as 'waffle' and rather than share their perspective and ideas in order to come to a solution or decision, they sit and critise and poison staff cultures. These are definitely challening times for leaders…

    1.' Cheryl Doig says:

      It is natural for people to crave certainty. And sometimes, when things are obvious or complicated, we can provide certainty. We can approach things as if there is a recipe, we can look for research and we can learn from experts. Increasingly though, leaders work in the complex domain, where ideas emerge and where there are multiple solutions. It is really challenging. It also is a great opportunity to look at our own practice as leaders and to consider what we might do differently. Perhaps we need to change the language we use to be more explicit; publish the timeframe and direction; share positive examples of success; and provide feedback. 

  4.' Mike Allen says:

    This is very interesting. I wonder why the collaboration in the open plan 70's was seen as unsuccessful and subsequently dropped. Is it possible that the enhancement of technology has a greater impact? Or was the leadership in a different place?

    In everything we do Relationships are key. Kiwi Leadership emphasizes it, but it is a great unmeasurable. Attempts to appoint staff through team typing is one approach, but they still don't show how well a persons builds and maintains relationships. I think we need to look very critically at appointment processes to ensure we achieve that level of 'collaborative conflict' that achieve outstanding learning. If everyone agreed I would be worried.

    ChrisB's comment about the speed of change is very relevant, especially as schools are pressured by outside groups to engage in 'their' initiative. The most difficult thing for a leader to do is decide with staff what's on top and resist everything else firmly and politely. Pay attention though so that you can be flexible if necessary. It is easy to be overwhelmed by opportunities.

    Even laggards can be enthused if they are not buried in Professional Development. Most of them just want time to think and try things.

    1.' Cheryl Doig says:

      Thanks for the comment Mike. I think we are in a really different space than the open plan schools of the 1970s and agree that technology has had a huge impact. It will continue to do so as technology becomes more ubiquitous. One of the other drivers is collaboration. This is fundamental for all businesses and isn’t about playing nicely together. It has to result in ‘better’ and certainly does involve conflict. It is the ways of dealing with this conflict that are fundamentally important, driven by a compelling shared vision and agreements. And a laser light approach is needed. Keep the focus on those things of critical impact and be relentless in those key areas. Don’t collaborate about everything. Be clear and aligned in your leadership.

  5.' Carla Martin says:

    Shane Morrow, one of our D.Ps at school has the foresight to keep us up to date with  past and current research by sharing relevant material with us via Teachers' Week, which is a really proactive move on his part……sharing and I, for one, appreciate it, especially when I have time to look. This particular Blog takes me back to our online community on the Post Grad. Dip in ELearning and Digital Technologies. The  online cohort for that year were incredibly strong, we supported, encouraged, diplomatically argued, collaborated, presented, questioned and more. We had, what they call "lurkers", "wallowers" "connectors" and the ubiquitous great leaders. We also had some excellent facilitators in our tutors, whom I never met. I guess all of these are akin to the four types of workers. I realise that the blog is focusing more on face to face collaboration which I am a real advocate of. There is nothing I miss more than the human face, especially when it's supportive, positive and productive. Where technology can only show expression through various smiley faces, (unless it's live broadcast) it does not show body language, true expression, intonation and the nuances of our language, although it still has its place. 

    The four key values to me, relate to  how we teach and follow through with our students, not just in collaboration and connection with our peers/associates. I have enjoyed reading this and it gives me food for thought. I would like to think I'm a T Shaped worker,, but I'm not perfect. Maybe we can all be a little of all four depending on circumstances, environment, time of day/year, direction, pressure and more. Our leadership here does have purpose, trust, clarity and commitment and I think that generally filters down through the school, it's directing the eclectic mix of personalities, characteristics, teaching styles and relationships which must be challenging. Above all, humour and recognition go a long way to developing and maintaining connections and collaboration.

    1.' Cheryl Doig says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments Carla. I think it is important to continually explore our own behaviours to see whether the ‘big T’ is alive and well. There are appropriate times for us to work as individuals and with others. The ‘outwards mindset’ helps us to explore possibilities that are outside our area of the known. You demonstrate this in your example of your own professional learning networks and your enabling and empowering of your DP to influence. In an increasingly complex world relationships will matter even more than before and I agree that humour is a key part of this. As teachers become Teachers they will be using technology more, woven with humanity. We are entering a new era, I think, where Teachers will be professional educators in a much more advanced way. Facilitation and ‘guide on the side’ isn’t enough. We need Teachers who are activators, collaborators, and provocateurs. And who can do this in face to face, digital and virtual environments. That takes collaboration to a whole new level….

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