One of the hardest things about the early work of learning teams is the sense of frustration — and failure — that can come from working really hard at new tasks without making a ton of initial progress.
The first step that school leaders can take to address those feelings is to help learning teams understand that there ARE clear stages of collaborative growth — and that there ARE tangible steps that teams can make to move further along the collaborative spectrum.
The simple truth is that transparency about the growth that teams will make can help to reassure teachers new to the notion of professional collaboration that they're on the right track and moving in the right direction.
Want to know what I think those stages of development look like?
Then check out this handout:
It details six specific stages of development that Parry Graham — my Building a PLC at Work coauthor — and I have seen time and time again in our buildings. More importantly, it includes six stories that illustrate the thoughts and feelings of teachers in each stage of growth.
Typically, when I introduce teams to the stages of development, we read one story at a time and collectively answer the questions listed at the end of the packet. Inevitably, participants see themselves — both as they currently are AND as they would ideally like to be — in ONE of the stories.
And if you REALLY dig the notion that teams work through unique stages and need unique support, check out the "Tools for Supporting Learning Teams" section on this page of session materials that I put together for a recent workshop on collaborative teaming.
It includes direct links to tools that may help learning teams to move from one stage of development to the next.