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EDU 6600 – Collaboration and Trust

November 15, 2009

Trust is such a volatile issue. It can easily be shattered, circumvented or avoided. Likewise it can be difficult to gain, and equally difficult to maintain. In the world of education, the need for trust is so great that the potential hardship or pitfalls must be faced in order to strive for the greater goals.

The current trend of collaborative learning communities – in this case schools that encourage communication and collaboration between teachers/staff – necessitates interaction and relies upon the participation of the members therein. While instituting and encouraging this mentality is a different topic altogether, the participation that is required is impossible without the compliance of teachers and staff.

Unfortunately, compliance (even attendance) tends to be a large hurdle in these situations. One of the basic issues that many teachers deal with in these situations is trust. Of the different levels of trust (in self, in others, in the process), self is the greatest one to achieve.

To draw from personal experience, I have caught myself holding back in certain situations – meetings and such – because I feel like I don’t have things to share with the more experienced or outspoken teachers. It’s taken me quite a few years to realize that If I don’t ask, or don’t contribute, I’ll never realize if I’m right or wrong. Personally, this was a major step in gaining self-trust as an educator. Another area in which I have made similar progress is during observations. I used to second guess myself continuously before an observation, asking “will they think I’m a good teacher?” Though this one is still a work in progress, it has taken me trusting in myself that I am a good teacher to realize that any comments or suggestions made by those who observe me are meant to be constructive.

Once teachers can trust themselves, they can trust each other. Both of these go hand-in-hand with trusting the process, for if you don’t know why we’re here, then it will be hard for the rest to fall into place. Teachers who can openly trust themselves and trust each other can then begin making positive contributions to the whole community, not just the their own classes.

In the end (and I know I’ve said this before) we’re working for the students, so if we can’t work together to give them the best education we can then what’s the purpose of collaborating, communicating or trusting in the first place?

One Comment leave one →
  1. alumpe permalink
    November 17, 2009 1:47 am

    There is a fine balance between “compliance” as you call it and willingness to participate in effective collaboration. The starting point for this is trust between admin and teachers.

    Make sure to connect your blog to readings/postings from the module (see criteria).

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