Sunday, July 08, 2012

Getting to Know You

I've always loved this song-- We played it in orchestra and in band when I was in intermediate (yes that many years ago) and high school. I used to think of it at the beginning of each school year during those first few days with new students. I saw myself in Anna in the King and I; we both were delighted to get to know and learn more about new students. It was a critical step toward developing meaningful relationships with them.

 Getting to know you---

 Now, in online spaces, Getting to Know You is the first discussion in the communities of practice of Powerful Learning Practice that I've had the privilege of leading. It's the very first step in developing trust among educators. It's the first step on the way to developing collegial relationships that enable deep and messy learning to occur. It's a beginning that holds great promise.

 Getting to know all about you--

In the PLP Connected Coaching model and in the eCourse around that model, we spend more than considerable time on trustbuilding. Online spaces require that be done with greater intent, lacking the informal ways in which people often meet and share face to face. Our Connected Coaching model encourages use of the greatest bandwith as coaches get to know those with whom they will be coaching-- through video, through audio, through images we learn more about each other. We push coaches to Skype with team leaders-- to get to know them.

Getting to know you--

Just about this time last summer I had a grand Skype conversation with Jane in Australia--she a team leader and I the team's Connected Coach. We talked, not about the work to follow, but about children, how we saw teaching, some of the projects in which we were involved. That initial conversation, hearing her voice, her intonation, the passion in her voice on certain topics paved the way for developing a collegial relationship during which time I supported her team as they developed an excellent PBL unit.

Getting to feel free and easy--

In the eCourse we dig deep into building trust with video, activities, discussions and crowdsourced presentations, seeking ideas for trustbuilding in online spaces. One of the first tasks in the eCourse is creating a video of introduction. We also build a crowsourced collaborative presentation gathering ideas from everyone who will contribute about trustbuilding in online spaces. The February section's presentation illustrates the power of images coupled with brief text and the June's presentation is now growing; hope you'll add your thoughts there.

 Getting to know know you--

In addition, and one of the key reasons for this post--
In conjunction with the learning contracts that I requested co learners in this June section to develop, I asked that they briefly skype with me around their contract and any questions they might have about the eCourse. Now this is after our getting to know you discussion, our setting ground rules, our creating 6 word stories and posting passions, and our creating introductory videos. At this point we have really been getting to know each other. Yet it's my feeling, that it's been in these one to one conversations-- with the focused one to one sharing, the voice intonations, the real time opportunity to respond, the laughter, the children wandering into the room, the hearing more about families and aspirations and past activities -- that we've truly begun to build the kind of trust, deep and profound, that engenders and enables meaningful, collegial collaboration.

To my co learners-- Judi, Amy, Dawn, Lynn, Lindy, Pati, Smadar, Janne, Wendy, Heidi, and Jen-- thank you!

So glad we're
Getting to know you--

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