Are you connected? My daughter, Lauren, is my best friend. In fact, I am pretty sure we share the same brain. More times than not, I will pick up my phone to text her and she will be doing the same – at the same time – almost any time of day! It’s a little freaky! We love to have a good cup of coffee and sit around and “chat”. She is uplifting, encouraging, and all-around-awesome. She helps me see things in new ways, and reminds me to lean on Jesus when tough times come around.
I am in the middle of reading a book by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age. It has caused me to think about the instructors that I know (including myself) and whether we are truly connected. So many teachers I know are fascinated with the four walls of their classroom. I say fascinated because they enjoy their four walls and prefer to stay inside rather than venturing out. Yet we know that growth is difficult if one is confined inside the four walls of a room.
Our family still eats dinner together – around a table. (smile). We visit, chat, and eat. We learn about each others’ day. We learn from each other. We help each other. Instructors learn about new ideas when they can sit around and chat with each other about best practices. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (2012) calls this meaning collaboration and authentic collegiality. We have at our fingertips an entire world of information from the best educators…we just need to search for it and share.
One thing I would like to see happen on our campus is increased collaboration. “Collaboration occurs when we approach goals as connected learners, relying on each other’s skills, knowledge, talents, and readiness to share” (Nussbaum-Beach, 2012). I can’t learn from you if you do not share and join in on the collaboration – and so forth. It takes all of us, joining together, working together, sharing, engaging, and enriching each others’ lives. When you step outside of the 4 walls and join together, you and I will both learn and grow.
Part of stepping out of your 4 walls can be done right from home! Get connected with others via Twitter or organizations such as CEM – Connected Educators. Again, there are excellent resources out there to help you improve your own practice. And – others will enjoy learning from you as well!
I would love to connect and collaborate with you. Please take 5 min. or so and share your thoughts. How would you increase collaboration? The results will be visible to all responders – so check back for new results!