COLLEGIALITY - SINGULAR CELLS
Ricardo Fox and Maurice Rehu
In our experience many schools are doing exceptional things with their students. These students are are highly motivated and engaged. Twitter is alive with educators "showing off" what there kids can do. It is neat and this is really exciting as we often get feedback from advisors, RTLB, lecturers, and many other people who are constantly visiting the many schools across Aotearoa.
However there is an "arrogance" (an experienced principals assessment) towards what some schools are doing and an unwillingness to share - there is a concern about sharing and that people will copy or criticise. People who criticise are non functioning human beings, those that are critically reflective and change their practice or make things better are exceptional. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We are proud when schools take what we are doing, give it their own flavour and then collaborate on how we could improve or try different things. It makes leadership, teaching and learning more powerful.
Often teachers are bogged down with the day to day grind and don't get an opportunity to work with others. "This climate is not conducive to effective appraisal and professional growth. Personal growth can be found through the enhancement of teacher interactions and conversations." (Robertson&Allen, set,1999) It is vital for teachers to consistently have these interactions and conversations not only in house but out of house and to feel comfortable enough to share their unique ideas with others.
Dr David James identified that, "the purpose of education is to share our knowledge with others. A great teacher can impart a deep understanding of a subject to students effectively and with passion and hope, in turn, that in doing so those young people will be inspired to teach others." (James, 2013) Certainly Dr James' ideals relate to our peers also? That simple word students relates directly to Tukana - Teina, where the oldest look after the youngest. What if we put a spin on it and think of Tuakana - Teina of an action where the person with the most knowledge shares with others. It creates an environment where, regardless of age, those with knowledge, known or self taught, have an opportunity to teach others in an open and critically reflective forum. New Zealand Educator, Steve Katene is revolutionising this thinking.
But right here and right now we are going to take a brief look at what is actually happening in New Zealand schools.
So what does it look like for us at the coal face?
Let us introduce the living cells - a biology lesson!
We think that these cells are pretty amazing, but it makes us very, very sad. Each cell represents one amazing school running exceptional programmes in isolation. Each cell can also be seen as one exceptional teacher doing exceptional teaching in isolation. Twitter has gone a long way to SHARE ideas and for SOME collaboration but what we think 21st Century Collaboration should look like is this. . .
an interconnected collaboration where schools and teachers are constantly sharing ideas. This cellular structure shares the structure of the twitterverse! But to be even more collaborative we think we could go further to look like this . . .
a fully merged highly functioning cell made up of many cells (schools and many teachers) working together to improve the learning of all in the 21st Century Learning community. Educamps are starting this movement!
In 2014 Richmond and Frasertown schools are going to work towards making this cell a truly inspiring reality that we can remodel for all to use. We will make mistakes but we will learn from them. Please check out the collaboration to see how we are moving along. We want to start a revolution.
Robertson/Allan, Teachers working in isolation, SET, 1999
James, The importance of Sharing Knowledge, 2013