How does a teacher team accomplish this? It’s all in the norming.
Norming is a “task” that often goes unnoticed. Or, it’s the thing that “we do” so that we say that we did and forget about it after that. However, a special team honors this task because it is the foundation of their work. It’s impossible for a team to be successful if they show up for game day not understanding the rules or how to play the game together. Teams must establish their own rules so that their game, student learning, is better than good. It’s special.
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Together, teacher teams need to determine what they need in order to be successful for students. This step cannot be ignored. Teams should have honest conversations about how to work together before their work begins. What are our non-negotiables as a team? How do we honor our time together? What do we do when we face obstacles? How do we celebrate successes? How do we value each other’s experiences and expertise?
This takes time. We often talk about these things, post them on an agenda and move on. But, successful teams, special teams, never forget these norms. They come back to them regularly. They reflect upon them. More importantly, their norms are at core of how they collaborate. These norms transform a cooperative team who gets along and share lesson plans to a team who collaborates about lessons that were effective for student learning. Norms shift teacher teams from teaching to learning. Teachers will begin learning together in order to impact their students’ learning.
Step one to stop teaching and start learning: norm!