Magazine article The Learning Professional

Put the 'I' Back in Team

Magazine article The Learning Professional

Put the 'I' Back in Team

Article excerpt

Teamwork is one of those words with the power to make me cringe no matter how much I sincerely believe in the concept behind it. I suspect I'm not the only one. Yes, we're all for team building, being a team player, taking one for the team, putting team before self. Why has it become a little hard to believe? Have we heard these clichés too many times?

Even for those of us who went to school before cooperative learning involved much cooperation, the value of working on an effective team is obvious. To state the reasons would add to my list of overused phrases. Touting the benefits of teamwork has become second nature to anyone who has applied for a job in the past 10 years, acknowledged a coworker, or won a basketball game.

Maybe that's the problem. Once you've experienced being part of a good team, you believe in teams. You don't really put much thought into the concept anymore. You forget that teamwork isn't a mattet of faith. Good teams require effort and skill. Teamwork isn't an end in itself; teams exist for a reason.

I'm concerned the same thing might happen with professional learning communities, or as the lingo goes, PLCs. There are enough people in the right places doing the right things with professional learning communities that we're hearing about wonderful results for students, teachers, and schools. You can read about several examples in this issue of JSD. With the results learning communities can achieve, many schools are ready to start a PLC, become a PLC, do a PLC. The term professional learning communities is already so common in our field that it threatens to become overused and misunderstood. …

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