Today I was fortunate enough to work again with the Leadership Team and Tom Barrett, engaging in dialogue to develop new ideas and clarify thinking with regard to some of our school goals for the year.
I always enjoy the opportunity to engage in dialogue with colleagues and create a space that is conducive to developing new and creative ideas to identified areas of development.
The kind of work we engaged in made me think of what makes the dialogue we engage in so successful. I believe we were successful for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, each and every opportunity we take to engage in dialogue is approached with thoughtful design to ensure that we create an environment that allows use to think together and create new ideas. Each session we begin with “talking about talking”, where we re-address our protocols and become mindful of the work we are about to share in. This mindset for dialogue, as I call it for my own reflection, is something that didn’t come to me straight away. It took practice. The ability to be present, truly present, is something that is difficult. We encourage each other to share what is on our minds, as individuals about to embark in dialogue to ensure that what may be on our minds does not cloud our ability to be truly present. This exercise may be a useful one to use in dialogue with your grade colleague, PLT members or during any dialogue where you wish to create new ideas together.
The other major factor that I believe contributes to our overall success is our trust in each other. Like the ability to be mindful, this was not something that magically appeared. Developing a trusting relationship takes effort. It takes the ability to share our vulnerabilities with those we work with. It is about treating each other with respect. It is about ensuring we critique the work and not the person. It is about welcoming others into our thinking. Without trust in those we are in dialogue with, the space that we create to share thinking in may be masked by our trepidation in sharing.
This building of trusting relationships is something that we can all work on together, whether it be at a grad level, PLT level, whole school level in an effort to increase out ability to create new ideas in true collaboration through dialogue.