Our district’s summer professional learning is well under way. Teachers have an opportunity to learn about our new Common Core Units of Study and to collaboratively plan as grade level teams. One whole portion of the first day is dedicated to teams coming to consensus on how to plan out a unit into manageable chapters of learning.
Not only is it fascinating to observe the entire process, but it is interesting to reflect on the strengths and challenges of such intensive, professional collaboration.
– When learning new standards, it is helpful to discuss and analyze the content with colleagues.
– Two heads are better than one… sharing ideas expands the resources and ideas!
– When a team struggles through a difficult conversation and emerges on the other side, with consensus, they are a stronger team.
– The larger the team, the more challenging it is for some groups to come to consensus, especially when it will affect what happens in each person’s individual classroom.
– When making a transition to new content that requires major shifts in thinking about teaching and learning, some teachers will fall back on what they are comfortable with. This may be a strategy to avoid the unknown or a lack of confidence.
– Coming to consensus is not always easy.
We in education are not always comfortable with cognitive dissonance (for ourselves or our students). This is something we must embrace and learn to work through, if we want to have any hopes of improving our PLCs, our collaboration, or our profession as a whole. I hope that our teams continue to work through the challenge of coming to consensus as they collaboratively chapter each unit of study throughout the year.