Monday, December 6, 2010

What do we value?

Last week we gathered a number of people together to discuss how they built a learning community in their school. As I sifted through my notes and video from the discussion (more on that soon), I tried to put my finger on what I was missing, what the leaders were trying to get across as they tried to answer my clumsy questions. It was only when reading Sustainable Improvement by Coral Mitchell and Larry Sackney (thanks for the loan, Twila), that I realized that I had asked the wrong question. Mitchell and Sackney write, "The question is not 'How will we build a learning community?' Instead it is, 'Who are the people in this community? What do we value and what is meaningful to us? What is disturbing us, and how are we making sense of the disturbances? What do we want, and where are we going?'"

Two things are meaningful to all of us. First, student achievement matters. We are all disturbed when some of our students don't thrive. Second, educators working together can have greater impact on student achievement (and greater joy in the process) than a teacher working in isolation. To work together, we need to value time to talk together. If, as Roger said at our meeting, you agree that "talking counts - us talking counts," then "you shape the environment to make it happen." How you go about it depends on your community. But you get started. Today.

For more on our PLC series
If it's important

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