Week 6 – Discussion 1
In this discussion, you have an opportunity to consider your learning from this course and engage in final conversation about the course with the instructor and other class peers. In the 1960’s, Bruce Tuckman related a model for group dynamics that suggested groups transition similarly along a continuum of activity for optimal functioning. These transitions were labeled Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. When we first entered our class together six weeks ago, we began Storming and Norming as a class. Throughout the course we have been Performing, and now we are in our moment of Adjourning. Though some of you may have opportunities for classes with peers in the future, this week marks the end of our unique opportunity as a group. Therefore, it is an effective time to reflect and debrief from our learning as we prepare for the next steps in our educational journeys.
Initial Post – Post a response that addresses each of the following areas:
This discussion, “Learning Reflection”, focuses on the “forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning” model design for teamwork by Bruce Tuckeman in his article Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. (as cited in Team Formation, 2014). In the “Forming” stage, each person in the team is establishing a role determined by strengths, personality traits, and group dynamics. In the next stage, members begin “storming” against what was established in the forming stage, creating conflict situations as the ‘honeymoon’ behavior wears off and working style differences infer with collaborative efforts. If teams are able to work through their “storming” differences, “norming” is established where team members get to know each other on a personal and professional level, and are able work together leveraging each other’s strengths and professional deficiencies. Your team is using proactive communication strategies, “performing” as a strong collaborative team. Most teams are not permanent; they will be “adjourning” once their goal has been accomplished. (Forming, storming, norming, and performing, 2014)
For your initial post you will reflect on how you see yourself as a leader in each of these stages; where you feel you need more professional development and how you will accomplish that; and any personal challenges or accomplishments you’ve experienced during this course in relation to collaboration, proactive communication, or yourself as a leader in conflict resolution.
MindTools. (2014). Forming, storming, norming, and performing: Understanding the stages of team formation. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm
Week 6 – Discussion 2
Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses.
Improving Your School, One Goal at a Time
This discussion is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the objectives; Analyze ways to create a collaborative school culture to promote professional growth and leadership; and Recognize the importance of knowing personal strengths and weaknesses in conflict resolution. Additionally, the discussion represents your master of the Course Learning Outcomes 1, 2, & 3.
Throughout the course you have learned the importance of collaboration between teachers in an inclusive teaching environment, how each person plays an important role as part of a team effort, and how an array of opinions can be united into one common goal using proactive problem-solving strategies. The same foundational theories can be applied to a larger system when creating a proactive school culture that is fully inclusive, and requires each stakeholder to play an important role in the team and to use proactive problem-solving to avoid potential conflicting situations.
According to Nadine Engels article Principals in Schools With a Positive School Culture (as cited in School Culture Matters, (2013), contributing factors to positive culture include “a shared sense of purpose and values, norms of continuous learning and improvement, collaborative collegial relationships… and sharing experiences” (para. 4). Furthermore, according to chapter eight in Murawski and Spencer (2011), creating a collaborative school culture is akin to writing an IEP, where team members evaluate the school’s present level of performance; create a long-term goal to be reevaluated annually and short term, scaffolded objectives for meeting the long-term goal (p. 139). As Murawski and Spencer (2011) explain, we begin by thinking about where the school is in its current condition as a social culture, the parent/teacher collaboration dynamic, the emotional environment, and overall instructional practices. Then, using proactive problem-solving steps, stakeholders will share perceptions and emotions of their “Collaborative Culture” vision. Using that shared information, the overall issue will be identified (i.e., the long-term goal), and the team will brainstorm ideas for how to accomplish it. Finally, the team will determine how the school’s culture will be improved over a period of time (short term objectives) and each person’s role in the team’s success.
Murawski, W. & Spencer, S. (2011). Collaborate, communicate, and differentiate: How to increase student learning in today’s diverse schools. Corwin Press
Haberman, M. (2013, April 10). Why school culture matters, and how to improve it. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Michael-Haberman/why-school-culture-matter_b_3047318.html
Initial Post – Start by reflecting on all you have learned throughout this course. Then, develop one long term goal in creating a collaborative school culture and four short term objectives that will scaffold to enable your school to achieve that goal. Additionally, explain how the special education team and site administrators will each play a part in your overall goal.
Guided Response – Post replies to at least two peers before the close date of this discussion. In your replies, consider asking questions of peers about their responses to encourage further conversation. In your replies, describe the role that might be played by two additional stakeholders in reaching your peers’ long-term goal and short term objectives. Stakeholders can include parents, general educators, service providers, community partners, and the student body.
As with all prior discussions, though two replies is the basic expectation, for deeper engagement and learning, you are encouraged to provide responses to any comments or questions others have given to you (including the instructor) before the last day of the discussion; this will further the conversation while also giving you opportunities to demonstrate your content expertise, critical thinking, and real world experiences with this topic.
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