I wrote a previous post about norms. I really feel like my views have shifted even more. If you have been with on any PLC or anywhere near education, we always want to talk about norms. Many of these norms include phrases such as arrive on time, leave on time. Unfortunately, I have come to realize that they do not focus on what we really need is to describe how we will collaborate. Often times, we all are in the same room, play our role, but don’t really work together. I think we need to dig deeper for more meaningful norms.
One tool I came across this school year was the seven collaborative norms. These are from Thinking Collaborative and have been around for quite some time. What I really like about these norms is they describe what it looks and sounds likes to be collaborating.
One of my favorite ways I used this tool was with a group of instructional coaches. Each one had recorded a coaching interaction with a teacher or a group of teachers. As we watched the video, we recorded on sticky notes when the coach said or did something that moved the conversation forward. Once done, in partners, they categorized their evidence into the seven collaborative norms. As a group, we talked about the strengths of the interaction and opportunities for growth. This worked well on several levels. Instructional coaches learned new moves or phrases to add to their repertoire by watching their peers. The coach saw their own coaching from an outsider looking in as well as receiving group feedback from the team.
I have also used this tool as a form of self-reflection. I often choose one to focus on when I enter a meeting. In small group meetings, I work on pausing because I know that I get really excited and end up interrupting. In larger groups, I tend to get silent, so I focus on putting ideas on the table.
As you reflect on your year if your norms did not make the group more productive, consider taking a look at the seven collaborative norms to help define what the work should look like.