Quotes (highlighted) are taken from Andy Hargreaves; http://andyhargreaves.weebly.com/100-quotes-to-teach-and-lead-by-1-25.html
“What we want for our students we should want for our teachers: learning, challenge, support, and respect.”
Online dictionary definition extracts. Collegiate; late Middle English: from Old French collegial or late Latin collegialis, from collegium 'partnership'. Relating to or involving shared responsibility, as among a group of colleagues. The shared authority between two or more people who work together.
Many of the definitions link the word to Roman Catholic bishops, through the College of Cardinals, so there was, at one stage a religious connotation.
There is much talk of the establishment of a national College of Teachers, who it should be for, what it’s remit should be and so on. This could turn out to be a very positive step in teacher development. On the other hand it could become a distraction, as a few worthy souls are elected or selected to this higher plane and are then responsible for and responsible to the profession for every pronouncement and decision. It could, by default, become another “top-down” organisation.
Too often, shared visions really mean, “I have a vision; you share it”
There was a General Teaching Council, which was disbanded by political decision. What’s to say that couldn’t happen again?
However the notion of a college of teachers in every staffroom does appeal to me and would be my personal starting point. As the dictionary definition says, it is in the form of collective (shared) responsibility, among a group of colleagues.
It was a singular pleasure after Ofsted visits, to have the positive reinforcement that my school was run on collegiate grounds. It was something that I believed in, wholeheartedly, in that my guiding premise was that I needed to ensure that the adults working with children were as well trained and supported to do their jobs as they could be. I was no longer in a position to do this myself, over the longer term, so I was reliant on others. So the space to work and the available resources had to be the best that we could afford.
All teachers are already leaders. It’s in the nature of teaching
Support for each other was a central belief. Subject leaders were allowed to lead and develop colleagues, through release time; I could provide that in different ways, before PPA time was a reality.
One simple way was to link with the local ITT provider and to take students on a regular basis. This increased the staffing of the school at little or no cost, and, with finalist teaching students, once they were settled in and effectively taking over, enable the classteacher to withdraw for short periods, to undertake projects or to release other staff to do so. As we always took a pair of finalists, this allowed collaborative development.
We must use collegiality not to level people down but to bring together their strength and creativity.
Enabling colleagues to take a significant lead in developing others enhanced their personal professionalism, but also deepened the interpersonal relationships, so that mutual understandings were strong. Being aware to avoid group think, I was not averse to putting into the thinking pot something a little “off the wall”; I did often play “Devil’s Advocate”, if discussion seemed to be getting too cosy. The phrase “tongue in cheek” often prefaced a challenge. This also encouraged others to explore for a range of angles, so avoiding the pitfall of linearity through group think.
Staff meetings were often reporting back on research findings, new ideas etc, always with a discussion paper ahead of the meeting, so that discussion was based on reflection, rather than reaction. This led to security in decisions and a definite “storyline” for the school. The support staff were invited to all development activities, so were part of the continuing discussion.
Collegiality, to my mind, also embeds aspects of well-being, in that everyone looks out for everyone else. That removes the burden from managers, although they are just then seen as part of the team. Teaching, if done properly, is a team game. One star player cannot create the basis for success, but a cohesive team can achieve a great deal by working together, led by a clear thinking manager.
Principles of collegiality.
- Everyone’s a member.
- Everyone has an equal voice, within collective discussion.
- Everyone shares in reflection.
- Everyone is party to decisions.
- Everyone is responsible for carrying out collective decisions.
- Anyone can bring questions back to the college for discussion and clarification.
- Collegiality does not preclude an individual from trying out new ideas on behalf of the collective.
- Professional trust is a process, not a state
- The quality & morale of teachers is absolutely central to the well-being of students and their learning
- In healthy individuals, emotions don’t distort rationality, they enhance it
To me, it seems self-evident that a “machine” such as a school through which cohorts of children pass over a time scale, needs to be run on collective grounds. Each individual decision is taken within the corporate body has to be seen as serving the needs of that body. An individual seeking to “do their own thing” can cause disruption or dislocation within the body, undermining the authoritative nature of the whole.
We will not achieve high performance in education if we replace teachers with machines or turn teachers into machines.
However, it is also evident that decisions cannot be mechanistic, within a human and humane system, dealing with the specific needs of individuals, so the system has to establish flexibilities within the system that allow for “human error”.
Teaching is a never-ending story. The work is never over; the job is never done