Large-scale improvement requires a relatively complex kind of cooperation among people in diverse roles. The key to creating this cooperation is understanding that learning grows out of differences in expertise. If collective learning is the goal, my authority to command you to do something doesn’t mean much if I don’t have the knowledge and skill which, when joined with yours, make us both more effective.


Mark Pichaj said...

When serving on our SBM "Discipline Committee," we had teachers and administrators (deans, mainly) and parents on this committee. We all had respect for each other as people (that helped) and respect for each other's abilities. We did not resent the deans for being "outside of the classroom" (and so increasing the norm in our classrooms); we welcomed their presence as deans and the job they did. The parents gave us the impression that they valued the teachers, and what they did, and wanted to do anything that would help us. I considered my time on this committee a success. (The time on the Attendance Committee...well, that was something else.)

Robert Nairne said...

My passion is studying Volcanoes and Volcanology, and I was asked to come in and teach the 6th grade science class (I am 7th Grade) about Earth Science concepts, and more specifically the types of volcanoes. One of our eigth grade teachers came in and taught my 7th Grade Life Science class about Genetics as they have a passion for this topic.
Every week during our Science meetings, we are always discussing how one teacher could come in and teach another class because of their previous knowledge or passion for the subject.

Bob's Blogs said...

Learning grows out of differences in expertise ..

Collaboration among a diverse group of professionals increases the effectiveness in all endeavors educational or otherwise.
I think it is important to explicitly demonstrate validation and support for each other's expertise. For example, I recently worked with my colleagues to develop lesson plans on human reproduction and we each had vaulable ideas and approaches and applied our unique skill sets to make effects lessons.

Mark Pichaj said...

[I am commenting on my own comment!]

What needed improvement?
Either more buy in from the District, or more of a sense of reality on what we could accomplish, and truncated expectations.

What actions were taken?
Coordination between the deans and the classroom teachers, and the re-instatement of the ever-popular Afterschool Detention Program, staffed by one of the most frightening PE teachers we had!

What worked/didn't work?
As long as the admins and coaches didn't undercut our authority when assigning detention, it seemed to work OK. Or, perhaps we needed to be more creative with a new solution as the effectiveness of this one waned.

JanePafundi said...

Robert that sounds so cool. What a great way to share expertise.

Arpa Ghazarian said...

Bob, that's great that you work with one another to provide motivation and fresh new ideas and perspectives. You're creating a learning environment without attending a professional development!