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robertogreco : collegiality   14

Holding Patterns: On Academic Knowledge and Labor – Eugenia Zuroski – Medium
"One of white liberalism’s most cherished fantasies is the cultural capital of “color.” Only from a platform of quotidian white privilege could someone earnestly imagine racial difference as a kind of “value added.” I think white people really think this way.

It’s not just wrong; it’s a way of disavowing racial difference as a site of critical knowledge. This neoliberal fallacy is hardwired into the structure of institutional “diversity” schemes: it’s what allows their architects to celebrate the presence of nonwhite people until the moment those people share what they understand about how the institution operates.

In academia, many early career BIPOC scholars have been advised, according to the logic of diversity, that their nonwhiteness will open doors to interviews, fellowships, job offers. I understand that mentors are struggling to guide students through brutal competitions for opportunity, support, and stable employment. And there’s this myth in academia that while permanent, fairly compensated jobs in general are disappearing, BIPOC scholars are somehow in “high demand.” (They are not.) But telling nonwhite graduates that their race is the key to professional success contradicts what they know from years of experience: that structural disenfranchisement is not a form of power.

A tenet for better mentoring: Against the white mythology of racial cachet, we must justly represent the particularly full expertise these scholars have gathered by pursuing their work without the privilege of whiteness.

A tenet for revaluing the bonds of collegiality: If we want to build solidarity within hostile institutional conditions, we must do better at respecting all knowledge formed at particular distances from power, especially when it addresses us directly.

Dear colleague: here are some things I’ve learned from my position as a mixed-race she/her Asian American scholar who appears, in the eyes of the institution, promisingly racially ambiguous — a poster child, you might say, for corporate diversity schemes to bring a few of us in and keep us busy."
eugeniazuroski  academia  highered  highereducation  diversity  knowledge  labor  race  racism  difference  2018  institutions  whiteness  nonwhiteness  opportunity  bias  disenfranchisement  power  colonialism  mentoring  collegiality  solidarity  privilege  expertise  imperialism  patriarchy  transphobia  homophobia  alienation  class  ableism  sexism  rinaldowalcott  evetuck  decolonization 
april 2018 by robertogreco
We need a "slow food" movement for higher education — Quartz
"The academy has moved to the fast lane. Corporatization has sped up the clock, compromising teaching, scholarship, and collegiality. The “slow movement”—originating in slow food—challenges the frantic pace and homogenization of contemporary culture. We believe that adopting the principles of “slow” into the professional practice of academia is an effective way to alleviate time poverty, preserve humanistic education, and resist the destructive effects of the corporate university.

“Slow,” Carlo Petrini makes clear in Slow Food Nation (2007), is not really about speed. It’s about the difference “between attention and distraction; slowness, in fact, is not so much a question of duration as of an ability to distinguish and evaluate, with the propensity to cultivate pleasure, knowledge, and quality.”

Being a professor is a privilege. We are not advocating slacking off, letting junior faculty do the heavy lifting, taking the summers off, missing deadlines, or doing less in class. Our view, advocated in our book The Slow Professor (2016), is rather about protecting the work that matters. Due to expanding workloads, the casualization of labor, the rise of technology, the consumer model of education, and increasing managerialism, the nature of the academy has changed dramatically in the past generation. Universities are now businesses. Teaching and learning are increasingly standardized, emphasizing the transfer of skills and time to completion. Both are now assessed in quantitative rather than qualitative terms. Research now is about winning grants and generating output—all as quickly as possible. Collegiality now is about useful networking.

Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary life. In order to protect the intellectual and pedagogic life of the university, we need to create opportunities to think and to shift our sense of time. This might mean getting away from having everything scheduled down to the minute. We can’t do our best work if we are frantic.

It is also crucial to be aware of the structural changes in the university so we don’t blame ourselves for not keeping up. And we should not forget the joy that is possible in teaching and scholarship. We are drawn to the slow movement because its critique of contemporary culture insists on the importance of pleasure and conviviality. Talking about individual stress and trying to find ways to foster wellbeing have political implications. If we are stressed, we feel powerless to change the larger context. In the corporate university, aggressive individualism and the familiar bottom line dominate at the expense of community and social critique.

Slow teaching is not about lowering standards. Rather, it is about reducing our distractedness so that we can focus on our students and our subjects. We need to be able to concentrate on creating a convivial classroom in which our students can meet the challenges—and we can foster the joys—of learning a discipline.

Slow scholarship is about resisting the pressure to reduce thinking to the imperative of immediate usefulness, marketability, and grant generation. It’s about preserving the idea of scholarship as open-ended enquiry. It will improve the quality of teaching and learning.

In the current climate, most of us simply don’t have time for genuine collegiality. As academics become more isolated from each other, we are also becoming more compliant—more likely to see structural problems, including those of general working conditions, as individual failings. When that happens, resistance to corporatization seems futile. Collegiality, properly understood as a community practice, is about mutual support rather than works-in-progress, about sharing our failures as well as our successes, and about collaboration as well as competition. It offers solidarity.

We acknowledge the systemic inequities in the university, but we believe that a slow approach is potentially relevant across the spectrum of academic positions. Slow time is inimical to the corporate university. Scholars in tenured positions, given the protection that we enjoy, have an obligation to try to improve in the working climate for all of us. We are concerned that the bar is being continually raised for faculty and for graduate students. We need to reflect on what we are modeling for each other and the next generation of academics."
slow  sloweducation  highered  highereducation  barbaraseeber  maggieberg  2017  collegiality  time  carlopetrini  slowness  pleasure  knowledge  quality  attention  distraction 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Rule of Three and other ideas
"and other handy thoughts: so many folks have asked me for a "quick start" set of rules for the design of 3rd Millennium learning spaces...
... this Rule of Three section and some of the other ideas here (see top of this page), have all been well received in conferences, seminars and most importantly adopted / shared with success by practitioners. These are proven, working ideas, so I thought it was time to park some of them on a web page:

***

rule of three - physical

I guess rule one is really that there is no absolutely right way to make learning better - schools are all different, their communities, contexts vary and as I have often observed on a windy day they become different places again. So you build your local recipe for great learning from the trusted and tested ingredients of others, adding a bit of local flair too. But this rule of three helps:

one: never more than three walls

two: no fewer than three points of focus

three: always able to accommodate at least three teachers, three activities (for the larger spaces three full "classes" too)

make no mistake - this is not a plea for those ghastly open plan spaces of the 1960s with their thermoplastic floors under high alumina concrete beams - with the consequent cacophony that deafened their teachers. Today's third millennium learning spaces are multi-faceted, agile (and thus easily re-configured by users as they use them), but allow all effective teaching and learning approaches, now and in the future, to be incorporated: collaborative work, mentoring, one-on-one, quiet reading, presentation, large group team taught groups... and more.

***

rule of three - pedagogic

one: ask three then me

A simple way to encourage peer support, especially in a larger mixed age, stage not age space, but it even works fine in a small 'traditional" closed single class classroom. Put simply the students should ask 3 of their peers before approaching the teacher for help. I've watched, amused in classes where a student approaches the teacher who simply holds up 3 fingers, with a quizzical expression and the student paused, turned and looked for help for her peers first. Works on so many levels...

two: three heads are better than one

Everyone engaging in team teaching reports that, once you get over the trust-wall of being confident that your colleagues will do their bit (see Superclasses) the experience of working with others, the professional gains, and the reduction in workloads are real and worthwhile. You really do learn rapidly from other teachers, the children's behaviour defaults to the expectations of the teacher in the room with the highest expectations, and so on. Remarkably schools especially report on the rapid progress of newly qualified teachers who move forward so quickly that people forget they are still NQTs. And older teachers at career end become rejuvenated by a heady mix of new ideas and of self esteem as they see that their "teaching craft" skills are valued and valuable.

three: three periods a day or fewer

Particularly in 2ndary schools a fragmented timetable of 5 or 6 lessons a day wastes so much time stopping and starting. Children arrive and spend, say, 3 minutes getting unpacked, briefed and started, then end 2 minutes before the "bell" and have 5 minutes travelling time between classes. On a 5 period day that is (3+2+5) x 5 = 50 minutes "lost" each day, 50 x 5 = 250 lost each week, which is effectively throwing away a day a week. Longer blocks, immersion can be solid blocks of a day of more, some schools even adopt a week, gets students truly engaged - and serves as a clear barrier to Dick Turpin teaching ("Stand and Deliver!") - which simply cannot be sustained for long blocks of time - thank goodness. This doesn't mean that the occasional "rapid fire" day (a bit like pedagogic Speed Dating!) can't be used to add variety. But longer blocks of time work better mainly.

***

rule of three - BYOD / UMOD

some schools adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or more recently Use My Own Device (UMOD - somehow, bringing them wasn't enough!) initially adopted really comprehensive "acceptable use policies" - bulging folders of policy that were neither understood nor adhered too (see for example the "sacrificial phones" mention under "What young people say" in the 2011 Nominet funded Cloudlearn research project).

Today though (2015) schools around the world, from Scandinavia to Australasia, are simpifying all this by three simple rules.

one: phones out, on the desk, screen up

Not everyone has a "desk" anymore of course, but the point here is that a device hidden under a work surface is more likely to be a problem than one on the worksurface, screen up. This makes it quick and easy to use, where appropriate, and simple to monitor by teachers or peers.

two: if you bring it, be prepared to share sometimes

This is more complex that it looks. Obviously handing your phone or tablet over to just anyone isn't going to happen, but the expectation that friends, or project collaborators, might simply pick up "your" device and chat to Siri, Google for resources, or whatever, means that bullying, inappropriate texts / images, or general misdemeanours are always likely to be discovered. Transparency is your friend here, secrecy masks mischief - and the expectation of occasional sharing is transparency enough. It also helps students develop simply safety / security habits - like logging out of social media to prevent Frapping or similar.

three: if you bring it, the school might notice and respond positively

If you've brought your own device along, the least you might expect is that the school gives you useful things to do, that you could not otherwise do, or couldn't do so well, without that device.

This requires a bit of imagination all round! A simple example would be the many schools that now do outdoor maths project tasks using the devices GPS trace capability (the device is sealed in a box during the excercise) like the children below tasked with drawing a Christmas tree on the park next to their school: estimating skills, geometry, measurement, scale, collaboration.... and really jolly hard to do with a pencil!

[image of a GPS traced tree]

***

knowing the 3rd millennium ABCs

A

ambition: how good might your children be?

agility: how quickly can we reconfigure to catch the wave - at a moment, only over a year, or at best across a generation?

astonishment: we want people to be astonished by what these children, and teachers, might achieve - how do we showcase this? how do we respond to it ourselves?

B

brave: what are others doing, what tested ideas can we borrow, how can we feed our own ideas to others? Brave is not foolhardy or reckless!

breadth: learning reaches out to who? embraces what? what support do you give for your school's grandparents for example?

blockers: you will need help with beating the blockers - if you run at the front, you need resources that win arguments: what is the evidence that...? why doesn't everyone do this...? where can I see it in action...? why should I change, ever...? all this exists of course (see top of page for example), but you need to organise it and be ready with it. A direct example is this workshop manual we developed for the new science spaces at Perth's Wesley College in Australia.

C

collegiality: that sense of belonging, of us-ness, sense of family, sharing, co-exploring, research. Also a sense of us (the team working on this innovation) being learners too - and able to show that we are trying cool stuff too - you won't win hearts and minds by saying but not doing;

communication: how does a learning space / building communicate what happens within? and this is about symmetry: how does the school listen to what happens outside school? how do we share and exchange all this with others?

collaboration: we don't want to be told, but we want to do this with others. How do we share what we learn as we do it? Who do we share with? How do we learn from them?"
tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  edtech  technology  schooldesign  stephenheppell  via:sebastienmarion  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  education  teaching  learning  schools  collaboration  byod  umod  sharing  ambition  agility  astonishment  bravery  breadth  blockers  collegiality  communication  simplicity  mobile  phones  desks  furniture  computers  laptops  etiquette  conviviality  scheduling  teams  interdependence  canon  sfsh 
march 2016 by robertogreco
on microaggressions and administrative power - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"Let’s try to put a few things together that need to be put together.

First, read this post by Jonathan Haidt excerpting and summarizing this article on the culture of campus microaggressions. A key passage:
Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim. This is why we have seen the recent explosion of concerns about microaggressions, combined with demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces, that Greg Lukianoff and I wrote about in The Coddling of the American Mind.

Now, take a look at this post by Conor Friedersdorf illustrating how this kind of thing works in practice. Note especially the account of an Oberlin student accused of microaggression and the way the conflict escalates.

And finally, to give you the proper socio-political context for all this, please read Freddie deBoer’s outstanding essay in the New York Times Magazine. Here’s an absolutely vital passage:
Current conditions result in neither the muscular and effective student activism favored by the defenders of current campus politics nor the emboldened, challenging professors that critics prefer. Instead, both sides seem to be gradually marginalized in favor of the growing managerial class that dominates so many campuses. Yes, students get to dictate increasingly elaborate and punitive speech codes that some of them prefer. But what could be more corporate or bureaucratic than the increasingly tight control on language and culture in the workplace? Those efforts both divert attention from the material politics that the administration often strenuously opposes (like divestment campaigns) and contribute to a deepening cultural disrespect for student activism. Professors, meanwhile, cling for dear life, trying merely to preserve whatever tenure track they can, prevented by academic culture, a lack of coordination and interdepartmental resentments from rallying together as labor activists. That the contemporary campus quiets the voices of both students and teachers — the two indispensable actors in the educational exchange — speaks to the funhouse-mirror quality of today’s academy.

I wish that committed student activists would recognize that the administrators who run their universities, no matter how convenient a recipient of their appeals, are not their friends. I want these bright, passionate students to remember that the best legacy of student activism lies in shaking up administrators, not in making appeals to them. At its worst, this tendency results in something like collusion between activists and administrators.

This is brilliantly incisive stuff by Freddie, and anyone who cares about the state of American higher education needs to reflect on it. When students demand the intervention of administrative authority to solve every little conflict, they end up simply reinforcing a power structure in which students and faculty alike are stripped of moral agency, in which all of us in the university — including the administrators themselves, since they’re typically reading responses from an instruction manual prepared in close consultation with university lawyers — are instruments in the hands of a self-perpetuating bureaucratic regime. Few social structures could be more alien to the character of true education.

Friedersdorf’s post encourages us to consider whether these habits of mind are characteristic of society as a whole. That seems indubitable to me. When people in the workplace routinely make complaints to HR officers instead of dealing directly with their colleagues, or calling the police when they see kids out on their own rather than talking to the parents, they’re employing the same strategy of enlisting Authority to fight their battles for them — and thereby consolidating the power of those who are currently in charge. Not exactly a strategy for changing the world. Nor for creating a minimally responsible citizenry.

In a fascinating article called “The Japanese Preschool’s Pedagogy of Peripheral Participation,”, Akiko Hayashi and Joseph Tobin describe a twofold strategy commonly deployed in Japan to deal with preschoolers’ conflicts: machi no hoiku and mimamoru. The former means “caring by waiting”; the second means “standing guard.” When children come into conflict, the teacher makes sure the students know that she is present, that she is watching — she may even add, kamisama datte miterun, daiyo (the gods too are watching) — but she does not intervene unless absolutely necessary. Even if the children start to fight she may not intervene; that will depend on whether a child is genuinely attempting to hurt another or the two are halfheartedly “play-fighting.”

The idea is to give children every possible opportunity to resolve their own conflicts — even past the point at which it might, to an American observer, seem that a conflict is irresolvable. This requires patient waiting; and of course one can wait too long — just as one can intervene too quickly. The mimamoru strategy is meant to reassure children that their authorities will not allow anything really bad to happen to them, though perhaps some unpleasant moments may arise. But those unpleasant moments must be tolerated, else how will the children learn to respond constructively and effectively to conflict — conflict which is, after all, inevitable in any social environment? And if children don't begin to learn such responses in preschool when will they learn it? Imagine if at university, or even in the workplace, they had developed no such abilities and were constantly dependent on authorities to ease every instance of social friction. What a mess that would be."
academia  preschool  conflictresolution  japan  alanjacobs  freddiedeboer  akikohayashi  josephtobin  machinohoiku  mimamoru  disagreement  rules  freespeech  culture  discomfort  collegiality  jonathanhaidt  power  authority  children  activism  management  administration  schools  society 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Request for Comments | Gardner Writes
"As Naughton tells the story, the young graduate students who were at the center of the Network Working Group found themselves with the future of the Internet in their hands. The big corporate brains knew about the machines that made up the network, but they didn’t know much about the network itself–it was too new, and it was an emergent phenomenon, not a thing they had built. The grad students in the NWG felt they were at great risk of offending the honchos, of overstepping their bounds as “vulnerable, insecure apprentices,” to use Naughton’s words. Crocker was especially worried they “would offend whomever the official protocol designers were….” But the work had to go forward. So Crocker invented the “Request for Comments,” what he called “humble words for our notes” that would document the discussions that would build the network.

Here’s how Crocker himself put it in this excerpt from RFC-3, “Documentation Conventions”:
Documentation of the NWG’s effort is through notes such as this. Notes may be produced at any site by anybody and included in this series…. [Content] may be any thought, suggestion, etc. related to the HOST software or other aspect of the network. Notes are encouraged to be timely rather than polished. Philosophical positions without examples or other specifics, specific suggestions or implementation techniques without introductory or background explication, and explicit questions without any attempted answers are all acceptable. The minimum length for a NWG note is one sentence.

These standards (or lack of them) are stated explicitly for two reasons. First, there is a tendency to view a written statement as ipso facto authoritative, and we hope to promote the exchange and discussion of considerably less than authoritative ideas. Second, there is a natural hesitancy to publish something unpolished, and we hope to ease this inhibition.

You can see the similarity to blogging right away. At least two primary Network Working Groups are involved: that of all the other people in the world (let’s call that civilization), and that of the network that constitutes one’s own cognition and the resulting “strange loop,” to use Douglas Hofstadter’s language. We are all of us in this macrocosm and this microcosm. Most of us will have multiple networks within these mirroring extremes, but the same principles will of course apply there as well. What is the ethos of the Network Working Group we call civilization? And for those of us engaged in the specific cognitive interventions we call education, what is the ethos of the Network Working Group we help out students to build and grow within themselves as learners? We discussed Ivan Illich in the Virginia Tech New Media Faculty-Staff Development Seminar today, and I was forcibly reminded that the NWG within sets the boundaries (and hopes) we have with which to craft our NWG without. School conditions what we expect in and from civilization.

I hope it’s also clear that these RFC-3 documentation conventions specify a praxis of intellectual discourse–indeed, I’d even say scholarly communication–that is sadly absent from most academic work today.

Would such communciation be rigorous? Academic? Worthy of tenure and promotion? What did these RFCs accomplish, and how do they figure in the human record? Naughton observes that this “Request for Comments” idea–and the title itself, now with many numerals following–has persisted as “the way the Internet discusses technical issues.” Naughton goes on to write that “it wasn’t just the title that endured … but the intelligent, friendly, co-operative, consensual attitude implied by it. With his modest, placatory style, Steve Crocker set the tone for the way the Net developed.” Naughton then quotes Katie Hafner’s and Matthew Lyon’s judgment that “the language of the RFC … was warm and welcoming. The idea was to promote cooperation, not ego.”

Naughton concludes,
The RFC archives contain an extraordinary record of thought in action, a riveting chronicle of the application of high intelligence to hard problems….

Why would we not want to produce such a record within the academy and share it with the public? Or are we content with the ordinary, forgotten, and non-riveting so long as the business model holds up?

Or have we been schooled so thoroughly that the very ambition makes no sense?

More Naughton:
The fundamental ethos of the Net was laid down in the deliberations of the Network Working Group. It was an ethos which assumed that nothing was secret, that problems existed to be solved collaboratively, that solutions emerged iteratively, and that everything which was produced should be in the public domain.

I think of the many faculty and department meetings I have been to. Some of them I have myself convened. The ethos of those Network Working Groups has varied considerably. I am disappointed to say that none of them has lived up to the fundamental ethos Naughton identifies above. I yearn for documentation conventions that will produce an extraordinary record of thought in action, with the production shared by all who work within a community of learning. And I wonder if I’m capable of Crocker’s humility or wisdom, and answerable to his invitation. I want to be."
gardnercampbell  internet  web  online  commenting  johnnaughton  2011  arpanet  stevecrocker  via:steelemaley  networks  networkworkinggroups  ivanillich  standards  content  shiftytext  networkedculture  networkedlearning  blogs  blogging  inhibition  unfinished  incomplete  cicilization  douglashofstadter  praxis  cooperation  tcsnmy  sharing  schooling  unschooling  academia  highered  highereducation  authority  humility  wisdom  collegiality  katiehafner  matthewlyon  rfc-3  rfc 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Look at yourself objectively (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
"Looking at ourselves objectively isn’t easy. But it’s essential if we ever want to get better. And if we don’t do it, we leave ourselves open to con artists and ethical compromisers who prey on our desire to believe we’re perfect. There’s no one solution, but here are some tricks I use to get a more accurate sense of myself:

Embrace your failings. …

Studiously avoid euphemism. …

Reverse your projections. …

Look up, not down. …

Criticize yourself. …

Find honest friends. …

Listen to the criticism. …

Take the outside view."
constructivecriticism  vulnerability  humility  honesty  oprah  mindchanging  mindchanges  change  behavior  ignazsemmelweis  learning  feedback  advice  self-improvement  wisdom  fear  failure  psychology  self-image  perspective  euphemisms  criticalfriends  collegiality  criticism  self-criticism  selfimprovement  2012  aaronswartz 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Getting To No
"Structural Obstacles

To begin with, teaching differs from most professions in being such an idiosyncratic craft. The immediacy of the classroom, its unpredictability and social complexity, makes teaching not just an intensely involving occupation but also an innately individualistic one. In many respects, teachers are, as Michael Huberman, author of The Lives of Teachers, observed, “independent artisan[s]” — tinkerers, intellectual craftspeople who use whatever they can find in their workshop to solve the problems presented by the project they are working on — and who work autonomously. Teachers are not deliverers of highly scripted, linear, instructional sequences; they are skillful, adaptive improvisers who must be able to modify a lesson plan on the fly whenever necessary. Much of what any educator does is highly personal, and over time, every teacher develops a unique instructional repertoire, a set of personal, artful, but often tacit assumptions and responses.5 This is true even for those who team-teach together and those who employ a similar classroom methodology.

“The entrenched norms that prevail among teachers have always been those of autonomy and privacy, not those of “open exchange, cooperation, and growth.”

What this means is that technical communication among teachers is more difficult, less necessary, and in some ways even less appropriate than it might seem…

[…]

Personal Obstacles

The nature of teaching and the structure of schooling pose significant challenges to collegiality, but the larger obstacles are personal; they lie in the make-up of teachers themselves. They were captured bluntly for me by a veteran history teacher, known to his administrators as “The Grouch,” who objected to his school’s effort to create PLC’s this way: “We don’t see the necessity. Plus, if — if — we had any time available, we’d rather spend it with students.”"

[…]

Conflict Avoidance

These tendencies in teachers help explain why so few schools go beyond congeniality. But there is an additional personal obstacle, one that is powerful and pervasive: educators are profoundly conflict avoidant. Teaching attracts people with a strong security orientation and a strong service ethic, not entrepreneurs with a thirst for risk and competition. It also attracts people who tend to be less worldly than, say, corporate professionals. Teachers try to accentuate the positive. They wish to help, foster, inspire, and encourage the best in students. They generally like people and want to be liked. And they take their work very personally. All of which makes them loathe to risk direct disagreement with or criticism of one another.

[…]

Avoiding conflict is not a terrible flaw. Schools have never resembled corporations. They’ve always been more like villages — venues where feelings are often powerful, but their expression must be measured. The price of civilization is restraint — and gossip. No village — no relationship — can survive total candor. Villagers, including the elders, often can’t speak their minds fully, but they also can’t contain all the feelings that are stirred in the course of living and working together. Hence, when they disagree or feel inclined to criticize, they often talk about one another instead of to one another. So it is in schools.

No wonder, then, that efforts at collaboration and collegiality are ever fragile — hard to start, hard to sustain. But although the obstacles are significant, there is much that can be done. And most of the key steps are simple. They’re not necessarily easy, but they are plain rather than fancy, straightforward rather than complex, and they draw in part on skills that teachers routinely apply in their work with students. Coping begins with commitment."

[…]

Disabling Avoidance: The Third-Time Rule

It is easy to get educators to agree that conflict avoidance interferes with their work and that they should take up significant issues directly with those involved. It is something else again to translate this into action. To many teachers, the very norms of avoidance they acknowledge as problematic also feel insurmountable, especially in one-to-one interactions. One way to cope with this dilemma is to formally adopt a simple agreement: Don’t be the third party the third time about any issue that bears importantly on the work of the school. This means that if Teacher A complains about Teacher B to Teacher C, C can listen, make suggestions, and so on, and can do so again if A returns to complain. But the third time, C must invoke the Third-Time Rule and insist that A take the issue to B. Otherwise C has become part of the problem, even if she didn’t create it, and is reinforcing a culture of avoidance, of talking about one another instead of to one another.

As noted above, there will always be static and irritations in relationships, and we all need occasions when we can just vent or complain. The Third-Time Rule is for concerns that involve the work of the school. It does not mean that C must simply turn A away. C can offer to meet with A and B together, or can suggest that A engage an administrator to help, and so on. The key is to keep the focus on improving the faculty’s working relationships.

Resolving Conflict
The prospect of actually abiding by the Third-Time Rule makes many teachers fearful. They can’t imagine what they would say to A if they were in C’s shoes. If they are to be more appropriately candid with one another, they usually benefit from learning concrete ways to improve communication, especially ways to resolve differences constructively. The relevant approaches are those taught in conflict-resolution seminars and are neither complex nor outside the range of teachers’ existing competence. They include:

1. Confront the issue, not one another. The goal is to resolve the difference and preserve the relationship. This means, among other things, assuming good will — not leaping to negative assumptions about a colleague’s views or motivation, not reading the effect of a remark or an action as its intent.

2. Listen carefully. Seek clarification and make sure to understand a colleague’s point of view (Can I ask you about that? Can you say more about what makes you think that?).

3. Share views honestly but respectfully — by, for example, making “I statements” (I find our meetings frustrating when we wander off topic, instead of, These meetings are a waste of time).

4. Speak as directly as possible, preceding it with something that makes it “hearable” (I don’t know quite how to say this, but I’m reluctant to speak because every time I suggest a solution you dismiss it, or, Can I disagree for a minute? I’m not sure you’re right. I think I see it differently).

5. In serious disagreements that persist, look for options, rather than full solutions (Is there part of the problem we agree on, even if we don’t see it all the same way?)."
robertevans  criticalfriends  collegiality  congeniality  2012  leadership  candor  honestry  constructivecriticism  via:carwaiseto  michaelhuberman  teaching  teachers  communication  honesty  feedback  avoidance  conflictavoidance  conflict  conversation 
july 2012 by robertogreco
n+1: Lions in Winter, Part Two
"The result is a bad dialectic between the casual readers, who like to check out books, & the fussy, over-educated “elite” readers, who want obscure volumes."

"More than anything, this rhetoric reveals the fundamentally anti-democratic worldview that has taken hold at the library. It is of a piece with what the new Masters of the Universe have accomplished in the public schools, where hedge funders have provided the lion’s share of the backing for privatization, & in the so-called reforms to our financial system, where technocrats meet behind closed doors to decide what will be best for the rest of us."

"Communicate & market—this is what “managed democracy” looks like."

"An internal culture of collegial debate, protected by an understanding that senior librarians had a form of tenure which gave them security to express themselves candidly, has been replaced at the library by what… is a culture of secrecy & fear."

[Part 1: http://nplusonemag.com/lions-in-winter ]
finance  technocrats  schoolreform  privatization  publicschools  elites  power  philanthropy  oligarchy  manageddemocracy  collegiality  debate  inclusion  decisionmaking  management  organizations  fear  secrecy  change  democracy  newyorkpubliclibrary  culture  research  2012  books  library  libraries  nyc  nypl  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
july 2012 by robertogreco
On Accountability, part 2: how to do it right « Granted, but…
"Ironically (given how many people like to bash the ‘corporate’ quality of accountability), as Joe Nocera points out in an excellent piece in the New York Times, most businesses have far more professional and collegial appraisal systems than schools typically do: the top businesses have systems more like those of BB&N than that of NY State. So, what does that tell you? It tells me that hypocrisy and ignorance are in the air. It is the height of hypocritical arrogance for DoE folks and lawmakers to pounce on these current VAM systems as if they were models. No modern company uses such a capricious ham-handed system as what the states are racing to develop. I’ll leave it to readers to pursue questions as to why we are racing to the bottom in teacher accountability."
hypocrisy  accountability  joenocera  schools  corporations  business  ignorance  collegiality  teachers  teaching  education  policy  via:tom.hoffman  reform  management  administration 
may 2012 by robertogreco
An interview with Daniel Sinker
"What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, I’m not wanting for a lot setup-wise. I love my machine [13" MacBook Air], I like my phone [Google Nexus S 4g]. Clearly, I have a thing for the pens [Sharpie pen] and notebooks [Field Notes and Moleskines] and other shit I use. The one thing I dream about is having a space where I’m working along side some very close friends. Currently, I spend most of my time working at my dining room table and while that’s awesome in a lot of ways, I do miss having physical colleagues close at hand.

So yeah: A place to do awesome shit with awesome people, that’s my dream setup."

[Pen referenced, found by Allen: http://www.amazon.com/Sharpie-Stainless-Steel-Point-1800702/dp/B0067VHVNA/ ]
2012  notetaking  notebooks  setups  toolkits  howwework  software  tools  cv  collegiality  thesetup  danielsinker  usesthis 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Thought Leader Interview: Meg Wheatley
"Good leadership can be found in pockets within any large organization. I’ve dubbed them islands of possibility in some of my past work. The leaders of these pockets routinely meet goals, motivate employees, and achieve high levels of safety and productivity. But, ironically, they never change the behavior of the majority of the organization — even though these few islands reach or exceed the goals set by senior management. There’s a lot of evidence that innovators get pushed to the margins. You’d expect that they would be rewarded, promoted, and given the responsibility of teaching everyone else how to do the same. But instead, they’re ignored or invisible…"
hierarchy  hierarchy  deschooling  unschooling  margaretwheatley  education  learning  organizations  management  administration  leadership  innovation  cv  tcsnmy  lcproject  networks  motivation  fear  values  meaning  purpose  2011  community  sharedvalues  vision  inclusion  schools  perseverance  decisionmaking  consensus  collegiality  morale  systems  systemschange  change  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Margaret J. Wheatley: Bringing Schools Back to Life
"We speak so easily these days of systems -- systems thinking, systems change, connectivity, networks. Yet in my experience, we really don't know what these terms mean, or their implications for our work. We don't yet know how to act or think about this new interconnected world of systems we've created. Those of us educated in Western culture learned to think and manage a world that was anything but systemic or interconnected. It was a world of separations and clear boundaries: boxes described jobs, lines charted relationships and accountabilities, roles and policies described the limits of what each individual did and who we wanted them to be. Western culture became very skilled at describing the world with these strange, unnatural separations."
hierarchy  deschooling  unschooling  systems  organizations  leadership  lcproject  1999  margaretwheatley  administration  tcsnmy  change  schools  education  community  rules  mindset  interdependency  meaning  meaningmaking  disruption  disruptiveinnovation  behavior  management  cv  chaos  autonomy  engagement  resistance  systemschange  life  collegiality  networks  livingnetworks  charterschools 
december 2011 by robertogreco
ZURB – How Design Teamwork Crushes Bureaucracy
"People who can’t communicate w/ each other get stuck making complicated ‘stuff’ to make up for it. Frustration turns into PowerPoints, complicated charts, & lots of meetings…requires layers upon layers of management to keep organized…weighs companies down…creates no direct value to customers. This is why there are so many lame products in the world. There’s not a wireframe or chart or design method that is going to save you if you can’t look your team members in the eye."

"Our teamwork made up for the lack of ‘stuff’ other companies would use because we:

Shared a clear goal that we all understood…Worked physically close to each other & stayed connected by IM and phone when we didn’t…Shared feedback w/ each other & from customers out in the open every day, which builds confidence in arguing & makes new conversations really easy to beginStayed together through thick and thin to build trust in one another"
teamwork  teams  administration  management  tcsnmy  toshare  bureaucracy  organizations  goals  purpose  community  communication  collegiality  feedback  constructivecriticism  argument  arguing  discussion  proximity  powerpoint  irrationalcomplexity  rules  control  missingthepoint  trust  2011  zurb 
july 2011 by robertogreco

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