Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Learning together . . .

Today was another learning opportunity with our teacher leadership teams. We have teams from five buildings, special services, and the Teaching and Learning Department participating in these meetings. The focus for today was continuing to create common understanding and shared meaning around the Classroom 10 characteristic of key content and checks for understanding. The teams reviewed the working document and provided the T&L Department with feedback as we continue to increase clarity around this important characteristic. Below, is the document that was shared today.

A second focus for the morning learning was around the importance of language and its influence on culture, with a focus on moving from a community of complaint to a community of commitment. This work is intended to support leaders in facilitating conversations at the team and building level when stakes are high and emotions are strong. These are difficult conversations to sustain and too often end without bringing closure to the issue in ways that sustain over time. This is partly because we tend to focus on results and actions without getting lower in the results pyramid to the belief and experience components that drives our behavior.

We also introduced a new concept from a book called Clear Leadership by Gervase Bushe called interpersonal mush. This is the situation created when we make up stories about one another without checking them for accuracy. As people, we have a deep need to make sense of ourselves and others including those we work with. The stories are made up to fill in the gaps about other people’s experience. How accurate they are is dependent on the quality of the person’s observations and the willingness of those being observed to share their experience. The mush then becomes our truth that influences our future behavior. It is similar to our learning about mental models and ladders of inference, but I believe in language more easily understood.

We ended the morning by introducing from the same book the Experience Cube, a strategy to limit interpersonal mush and increase interpersonal clarity. We learned the importance of sharing these components of our story and encouraging others to do the same.  Learning and doing I have learned are not the same.  This change will not be easily implemented and will require knowledge and support to become part of a team's, building's, and system's culture.

1 comment:

Jeff Colosimo said...

It's amazing what can happen with a little collaboration. Thank you for sharing how you were able to build a community with shared learning.