Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. – Steven Covey

[Note: Please see the Introduction and Diagnostic in the previous blog post before using the material in this post.]

This blog series is specifically designed to support the strengthening of the social network and the building of relational trust in teams. Consider how relational trust is built. It is virtually unthinkable to build relational trust in and among teams and colleagues without dialogue and commitments.

So how can teams create equity of time and voice regarding dialogue and conversation?

Structured Dialogue – The What

A method to support teams is found in Leading School Teams (Horton, 2017). The dialogue prompts in Leading School Teams give teams some powerful dialogues around professional topics done in a way that every member of the team gets equal time to share and give voice. A key factor in hosting powerful conversations is that purposeful dialogue allows team members to more effectively understand not only the initiative or idea but each other.

School Level Learning Networks

Teams can be formed from many combinations of people and tasks. Schools often have teams formed around a common grade level or subject area. These have a narrow scope. Schools also have teams that are broad in scope such as: leadership teams, department chair teams, assessment teams and accreditation teams as some examples. Their work is more ‘school-wide’ and one step removed from classroom impact compared to the narrow-scope school teams.

The role of a narrow-scope learning network team is two-fold: classroom/student impact and team capacity. The Leading Impact Teams EAA format provides the purposeful protocols to support the narrow-scope team.

The role of a broad-scope learning network team is not classroom learning directly but rather a subset of school functions based on the needs of the school. Each of these learning teams (curriculum teams, leadership teams, accreditation teams to name a few) depends on a cohesive and flexible relationship to the district level framed initiatives and the high priorities of the school. These teams can bring in specialized data germane to their focus and provide actions and recommendations to carry out their subset mission.

The Care and Feeding of the Most Crucial Learning Network – The Cornerstone of Collective Efficacy in the Organization

The most crucial teams in the entire system are the grade level or subject area teams (narrow-scope school level teams). These are the teams that have direct and constant access to students and have the greatest potential impact on student learning. In fact, the social network strength and collective teacher efficacy in the entire organization will not have its full realized effect if these teams don’t function and thrive.

By contrast, when these grade level or subject area teams have the strong social networks and build a collective efficacy focused on student ownership of learning they can have dramatic impact on student learning (Daly, 2010; Bloomberg and Pitchford, 2017).

Making Positive Change – Innovative Change

It is important to understand why change is crucial to education and more precisely that Innovative Change is the most critical of all. Innovation is a way of thinking (Couros, 2015). Innovation in education creates something new and better (Couros, 2015). So, innovation can be either an invention or a new iteration – but, as Couros (2015) reminds us it has to be new and better.

Use the Diagnostics from the Introduction: From the Introduction to this 3-part blog you completed the Diagnostics (Appendices A1 and A2). [Note: If you did not complete the Diagnostics please stop and accomplish this step).

Select 3 Areas of Focus: Using Appendix B you can select 3 areas of focus from Appendix A1 and A2. It is often suggested to select areas that you found were NLU (Not Like Us) or SLU (Somewhat Like Us). Record the needed information in Appendix B.

The entire blog and resources can be found at https://www.leadteamlearn.com/blog