Monday, March 30, 2015

The Driving Force behind an Excellent Team

Excellent teams thrive while others struggle to survive.  Some excel while others fail.  Schools provide collaborative time to all teams, and their strong teams create awesome plans for kids, while their weak teams spin their wheels getting little accomplished.  But I f you think about it, all teams have one thing in common. They discuss the following educational concepts:

  • Curriculum
  • Instruction
  • Assessment
  • Intervention, 
  • Extension,
  • Tech integration
  • Real world experiences

In fact, when teams are asked if they address those components as a collaborative team, a common response is "Yeah, we do that..."  So if all team "focus on learning", then why are some successful and others still struggling to make a positive impact on learning. 

It all depends on how they answer this question...

Excellent Teams Don't Do Everything

The difference between excellent teams and others is not so much about what they do as how deeply they do it and why they do it.  The  best teams don't shoot for better test scores.  Better test scores result from their continuous quest for self-improvement.  Excellent teams don't work harder; they work smarter.  They don't do everything right; they do the most critical things right.  These teams don't hyper-focus on the causes of failure; they focus on learning from failure and transforming it into progress.

The whole point of having a team is helping every player become a winner.  When teams consist of individuals who are collectively committed to getting better for all kids, everyone gets better (kids too).  Their checklists become smaller because things are put in perspective.  In fact, great teams prioritize their collective work into 3 basic categories:
  • Critical Team Actions
  • Secondary Team Actions
  • "If we have time" Actions
When teams are able to prioritize and then commit to the actions that are most essential to their work at getting better for all kids, there is a strong likelihood that student improvement begins.  When the focus on learning starts with the adults in building learning how to improve at their own effectiveness, the focus on student learning actually transforms from a buzzword into a reality.

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