Hoarding Culture— teachers and schools keep their expertise, their knowledge, their ideas, and their innovations to themselves.
Sharing Culture—- these teachers know that their fellow teachers, their fellow principals, and their fellow schools can benefit and should benefit from their knowledge, ideas, creativity, and information. Sharers get a “reward” out of helping others benefit from what they know.
Jacobs introduced me to an approach to knowledge management called “Yokoten.”
The Japanese word means “taking from one place to another.” Toyota’s culture is a sharing culture. They correctly understand that knowledge, ideas, and data are organizational resources. A good idea should not be wasted but should be implemented. In addition, and this is key, a good idea should not just be used in a single location, but should be exported to all parts of the organization. Their sharing culture obligates that an individual share with their peers and leaders are expected to circulate good ideas throughout the organization.1
Jacobs’ descriptions fit with the progression flow that I have been identifying for Professional Learning Communities.
(Click on slide to enlarge)
…from individuals meeting to franchises to teams.
At the initial stage, individuals meeting, you often hear people complaining that they have to go to the meeting: “ this is my time I should be doing my work” With the emphasis on MY, it’s a hoarding culture.
The first step forward is when teachers begin helping each other. ”When I had a student like that, I found this worked”… When a teacher’s shared idea or strategy is accepted with appreciation, a sharing culture begins to grow. When teachers find that ideas from colleagues improve student learning, commitment to time in PLCs increases.
Franchises are formed when teacher share their creativity with each other and work together to design instructional or assessment strategies together, such as 9 week common assessments or a unit of instruction. In the early stages of franchising, strategies designed together are implemented individually. A team designs a common assessment but doesn’t look at each other’s lesson plans.
As PLCs progress from franchises toward teams, teachers begin to modify their individual practices to align with others creating a consistent practice that benefits students. A PLC of freshman teachers decides on common notebook criteria for their courses that encourages organizational skills. A 6-7-8 middle school PLC implements common expectations for students over the three years.
At full implementation, PLCs become teams. Members take shared responsibility for student success. On a K-1 -2 vertical PLC where the team has the same students over three years, members share responsibility for all the students across the three years. On a high school science PLC a biology teacher assumes responsibility for students’ success in chemistry.
Student achievement is important-too important- for a hoarding culture or working as individuals. Our students deserve the best that sharing and teaming can offer.
1Hoarding Culture or Sharing Culture blog by Rob Jacobs