School Spotlight: Collaboration at Murrell School "When you know better, you do better." ~Dr. Maya Angelou
During my first year of teaching 8th grade math and science, I decided to put my students into cooperative groups for a math project. I was trying something new and even had my university supervisor coming to observe me. (In KY new teachers are observed at least 9 times a year by principal, mentor teacher, and university supervisor.)
Dr. Maya Angelou has a quote, "When you know better you do better." Well, let's just say that when the lesson where I used cooperative groups was observed, I had ALOT to learn. I had basically put students together and said, "cooperate". I lacked structures, strategies, and principles for facilitating the cooperative learning process.
Today, there's research about the importance of leveraging collaboration and social capital in schools (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012; Hattie, 2015) for improving student success. However, just like I did in my classroom, educational organizations are putting teachers together in common planning time and saying, "collaborate." How well do you think this is working?
The collaborative inquiry process is a tool for providing structures, strategies, and group dynamic principles to help teams move from dialogue, to discussion, to decisions. The best part is that voices are heard and ownership is fostered, so that the actions really occur.
Let me share with you an example last week, November 8th from Murrell School where the TELL survey data was used with faculty to make recommendations for improving culture and climate. They made some excellent recommendations for supporting student success.
Here's what Susan Siegel, Executive Principal of Murrell School, shared about the process: "It was wonderful! I loved the process, and learned great strategies in working with staff. I talked to several teachers and they really appreciated the steps taken, and felt all voices were heard. Many also said they were pleased that we had a plan to ensure changes. All said you did a terrific job and thought the entire PD was exciting and energizing."
You can read more about Murrell's work at http://www.mnpscollaboration.org/murrell--culture-and-climate-2016-2017.html.
Thanks Murrell for inviting me to be part of the conversation. I look forward to continued collaboration.
If you and/or your school is interested in learning more about the collaborative inquiry process for fostering data conversations, please feel free to contact Margie Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York City, NY: Teachers College Press.
Hattie, J. (2015). What works best in education: The politics of collaborative expertise. Retrieved from https://www.pearson.com/content/dam/corporate/global/pearson-dot-com/files/hattie/150526_ExpertiseWEB_V1.pdf
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