Showing posts with label teamwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teamwork. Show all posts

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Synthesis of ideas

Typically in an organisation, inspirational achievement is driven by recognition.  By inspirational achievement, I mean achievement that goes beyond organic or inertial achievement - achievement that happens as a factor of time.

Allowing inspirational achievement to be driven by recognition is counterproductive as it breaks down the ability for future success as entities within the organisation confuse the success of organisational goals with the need for personal recognition (or more importantly the belief that others are taking credit where it is not due).

To prevent this occurring the process of organisational synthesis must occur, where credit is distributed to effective teams and the goals of the team are acknowledged first (and valued), with credit being accrued as leader and as individual participants in the team as a secondary and lessor factor.  This is not a natural process, and although we commonly achieve this in sporting teams, it is rarely seen in organisations, especially those as filled with individuals as school staff rooms.

The idea of synthesis occurs where ideas are naturally shared with the team and the team develops the idea to fulfill a team goal.  The idea of public personal credit is eliminated and only the goal is celebrated publically when it is achieved - by the whole team. Elements that caused the success are identified inside the team and only extraordinary and measurable contributions (motivational, leadership, content, skill, effort, time) acknowledged by the whole team are documented and/or rewarded further.  This gives the appearance of a coherent and solid team and removes the perception of fractured teams (that may in fact only be debating different methods to the same goal).  Loafers get credit but may not be invited to be part of the next team (thus eliminating a fractured element).

External input breaks the model, which dictates that the most capable people need to be in the team (or added to the team) and that any external inputs are donated without requirement for credit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Teacher turnover, teamwork and classes for 2009

The generation of school spirit comes from the school, focuses through teachers and into students. Harmony between teachers is a key component to the generation of that aura of success in a school.

Part of this is ensuring that there is balance between the needs of students and the needs of teachers. At this time of year tension arises between staff regarding the classes teachers would like to teach to further their careers and what is in the best interests of students. What is in the best interest of students is not always the best option. This takes some courage to say, as it has always been my position that students come first - but I think it is naive to think this is always the case.

In the real world, knowledge management issues of a revolving staff are well documented. When staff leave it does not only cost in terms of vetting and rehiring staff but also in the content knowledge loss, training investment and organisational understanding that is only gained through experience with customers.

Teaching is no different. Reduce turnover and the school benefits. An organisation that considers the needs of staff to progress successfully in their careers is an organisation that cares for its staff. To do this staff members needs to have their progress clearly illustrated and documented.

In mathematics, this means careful consideration of the new level 3 MAT and MAS courses. If there are a number of teachers vying for these classes it may be a number of years before teachers are given access to them. Being offered these classes (or knowing that a course has your name on it two years hence) can be a clear motivating factor in staying with the school and fully embracing PD opportunities until that time.

Conversely not being offered these courses or seeing the courses offered to those 'less worthy' can be a demotivational factor. Similarly being continuously asked to take lower school or low ability senior school classes can be disheartening for those seeking to enhance their skill base or for those seeking rapid promotion.

This ties very close to timetabling as many promotional opportunities rely on staff having access to senior school classes. Timetabling can often make or break the way a teacher sees their classes. Teaching out of area, sharing classes with other teachers, large class sizes, behaviourally 'difficult' classes can all be contributors to negative staff morale.

For a maths team to be successful they have to work as a team, support each other and find new and innovative solutions to student behavioural, content delivery and motivational issues. When class distribution for the following year is being considered, it means that careful thought has to be made as to what will satisfy the majority of the team, motivate members and ultimately prevent turnover.