Sunday, March 11, 2012

Diversity and Connected Coaching

Our latest Connected Coaching webinar ended Wednesday evening at 8:30 PM EST. At 9:00, Traci, Debra and Camilla continued to talk with each other in Blackboard Collaborate as they collaborated on a wiki page building a Connected Coaching toolkit. Three educators from Australia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, with diverse perspectives and a common goal, collaborated across time zones and geographical boundaries.

One of the many beauties of online collaboration and Connected Coaching is the potential for diverse perspectives to deepen learning. In our current course section, passioned and accomplished educators from Oregon, Ontario, Alberta, Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, China, Finland and Norway bring their unique gifts and talents and do just that.
That diversity is a critical component in effecting change and in improving our coaching practice. As Sheryl and I note in The Connected Educator:

"The importance of diversity is foundational for organizations and individuals wanting to reculture, transform, or totally reinvent themselves in order to remain relevant in students’ lives. To stimulate new ideas, facts, experiences, possibilities, insights, perspectives, and skills—conceptions and conversations need to bump up against each other in fresh and surprising ways. It is almost impossible to have something new emerge from people who hang out together all the time and think about the same things in much the same ways.

One of the strengths in collaborating as connected learners, both within and beyond the schoolhouse walls, lies in the range of thought, ideology, and culture that becomes part of the conversations and learning process. Connected learners expand their schemas and process issues and possible solutions from new perspectives and conceptual frames. Connected learners are able to hear differing voices and opinions and learn to confront challenges to assumptions authentically, in the manner of critical friends." --page 41

I am humbled by this opportunity to learn with and to facilitate an esteemed group of educators whose journey into Connected Coaching validates and illustrates the power of diversity to deepen thinking, open possibilities for innovation, and a more accomplished Connected Coaching practice.

Image: '3D Full Spectrum Unity Holding Hands Concept'

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