New-school Collaboration with Old-school Resources

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

I feel like I’m constantly swimming against the tide of independence. It would be so much easier if I could just do things myself. It would save time. It would save energy. It would ensure that I never have to be uncomfortable and that I can have everything my own way.

Ahhh… the pitfalls of collaboration. In a collaborative environment, no one out-ranks anyone else. Everyone’s ideas are important, valid and useful. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes more than tolerance; it takes acceptance. It takes letting go.

How can we avoid our tendency to take our load and “do it ourselves”?

We have to constantly and strategically build collaboration into every part of anything the team does. At first it may seem forced but after a time, it will seem natural that we seek each other out when we create something for the team.

Last week, we had a team planning session for our next Integrated Inquiry. Before I even had any weight on my ideas for the unit, I ensured that we had discussed our ideas as a team.

“I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively.” Golda Meir

I set up an old-school piece of butcher’s paper and organised it into the sections of the Integrated Inquiry. I provided everyone with post-it-notes and markers. I asked someone to give an introduction about the genesis of the inquiry and reminded the team about Bloom’s Taxonomy, Habits of Mind and Gardiner’s Intelligences.

Following this, we spent 10 minutes brainstorming on post-it-notes. This was the outcome:

Work In Progress
Work In Progress

Whilst this was occurring, we had someone (not a member of our team) pull together some of the discussions and ideas into ‘Big ideas’ and ‘Key Questions’. This person was able to be completely unbiased as he wasn’t teaching the unit. This gave us a crucial insight into our joint perspective on the concepts. This is what he came up with:

Developed by an independent witness
Developed by an independent witness

These posters are now displayed in our collaborative work space and may be added to at anytime before the formal programming document is developed.

It the end of the session, everyone felt like they were integral to the team, to the process and to the Integrated Inquiry unit. Everyone felt validated. Everyone is now on the same page.


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