This term I have designed my own action learning project (Kolb, 1984) around the question “What can effective collaboration look like in education”. My reflective observations are that in education we like to talk about collaboration but due to poor modelling and a lack of soft skills, network awareness and metacognitive tool sets we are in collaboration terms ‘functionally illiterate’.
I spent 3 weeks coding behaviors surrounding the use of the word “collaboration”, I coded educators webpages, documents, blogs, tweets, emails, spoken word & other social networks.
Here is what I observed
- Total use of the word (spoken, written or implied) = 89
- Behaviors observed:
- “working together to realize shared goals” = 0/89
- Telling others what to do = 18/89
- Sharing basic information/facts/knowledge/content = 75/89
- Engaging others in the creation of a vision = 0/89
- Telling others what the vision is = 5/89
- Asking for feedback = 0/89
- Positively accepting feedback = 0/89
- Negatively accepting feedback = 3/89
- Making connections for personal/professional gain = 12/89
- Use of the word in a vacuum of any behaviors i.e. “I collaborate” = 10/89
My abstract conceptualisations are:
- Educators don’t conceptually understand collaboration, so we will chunk it down for them and facilitate them through a process of actual collaboration.
- Educators lack experience with structures and processes that enable collaboration, so we have timetabled 2 days a term for each faculty to collaborate and we will help structure further collaboration into their routines.
- Educators are rarely engaged in the visioning process, so we will start by designing a shared vision, then build the collaboration from there.
Let the active experimentation begin…