A culture of sharing

share your ideas by Britta Bohlinger on Flickr!

We teach children from an early age to share. Learning to share the sandbox, our favorite toy, or a book is a formative experience that we all go through as we learn to relate to others.
A lot of emphasis is placed on sharing when we are young, but it’s just as important, maybe more so, as we grow up and have our own unique perspectives, ideas, and techniques to share.

So, I’d like you consider this question.

“Are you a good sharer?”

This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately as we establish the learning culture of our secondary school. We have more than 50 new teachers this year and will be adding more than 30 more next year as we expand. I think it’s critical to demonstrate overtly that we are all learners; students, teachers, and parents alike. Sharing, to me, is an obvious way to do this.

Last week, we opened our Middle School professional learning sessions with seven people, including our Principal, sharing quick (3-5 minute) things that have worked for them and their students. The topics centered around communication, organization, and collaboration with digital tools. I, of course, shared them with the audience by setting up a backchannel on Today’s Meet. Here are excerpts (full transcript):

Mike J gives just-in-time feedback using Google Docs “insert comment”Jeff P at 07:31 AM, 19 Sep 2012 via web

Aloni C uses iProcrastinate to stay organized. http://goo.gl/3RwB6

Jeff P at 07:31 AM, 19 Sep 2012 via web 

David S uses weekly announcements to update what’s been going on in class.

Jeff P at 07:34 AM, 19 Sep 2012 via web 

Resources I will share- Class blog http://tinyurl.com/cjucecm

Jabiz at 07:36 AM, 19 Sep 2012 via web 

Ian T showing us #social commenting aspect of their site.Jeff P at 07:38 AM, 19 Sep 2012 via web

Martin S showing us how his students are “writing the textbook” as they go in Pages.

Jeff P at 07:52 AM, 19 Sep 2012 via web 

This was a great way to start our meeting. It gave everybody a window into what others are doing reinforcing good practice in some cases I’m sure while providing that little seed of an idea to solve nagging issues for others. This sharing primed the pump for professional discussions in teams related to our iLearn goals and how to make them actionable.

I recognize that it’s not easy for everyone to share, in public, in small groups of peers even.
I wonder, why don’t some people share more? If you’re a non-sharer, you probably won’t comment on this blog, but maybe you’ve “seen the light” and have converted to the sharing culture. Is it a lack of confidence in less than perfect ideas or maybe just general introversion? And, the bigger question, if we want to establish a culture of sharing including all stakeholders, what’s the best way to go about it? 

0 Comments Add yours

  1. I believe the reason mainly is that people are not aware that what they are doing in their classroom is worth sharing. I believe teachers are under the impression that their methods are nothing to write home about. I believe that walking into each other's classrooms – watching teachers and their relationship with their students; walking into classrooms and seeing how someone has figured out something amazing with their classroom will make a difference.
    I don't think it's about not wanting to share. I think it's about having teachers realise that what they are doing will make a difference to other educators and students.

  2. J Plaman says:

    Thanks for the comment Shruti. I think you're right. Especially about the part about what they do every day being "nothing special." From the perspective of learning new IT tricks, the best learning comes from geeking out with other people and seeing how they do shortcuts, etc that I never knew about. So, maybe have people team-teach more will put people in the room with others when they are teaching?
    Another possibility would be to set-up some peer coaching frameworks. Basically, people need an excuse to go in to other classrooms don't you think?

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