There are hoops on the floor and cards with each staff member’s name on them. The task is to silently place the cards into the hoops indicating existing teams in the school.
In the first round we are not permitted to move cards placed by others. It’s an interesting, yet frustrating process! How can I place some of the cards assigned to me if others have already created teams with which I don’t agree?
Once everyone has had a turn to explain their placements, we move on to the second round, silently again, now with the freedom to move and replace names in different configurations.
By the third round, there are overlapping hoops, string has been added to demonstrate connections across hoops and some names have been written on more than one card…
The process reveals that:
- Hoops are restrictive in exploring teams because they are closed circles and teams overlap.
- We have many teams within our three campus school, some cross campus, some within. No-one works in isolation.
- Everyone belongs to more than one team, some to many.
- There are different perspectives on which teams people belong to.
- Where you see yourself might be different from where others see you.
- Some teams exist because of circumstance, some teams are imposed, some teams are chosen.
- There are possibilities for new teams, which have not yet been considered.
The process is part of a discussion by our leadership team and the next steps will include all teachers examining the existing teams, defining their purpose, identifying the teams they belong to and would like to join…
Are all our teams effective?
- Does every meeting of every team relate to learning?
- Does every team have a shared sense of purpose?
- Does every team have an essential agreement or shared norms?
- Who steers the ship? Does every team have a leader or rotate leadership?
- Does belonging to several teams give members broader knowledge and understanding?
- Does belonging to too many teams mean you attend too many meetings and are spread to thinly?
- What about informal teams? Unofficial groups who choose to collaborate?
- Are all teams built on trust?
- Do participants in every team learn from each other?
- Does every team include healthy conflict and welcome different voices?
- Are meetings well planned with clear learning related objectives?
and another question…
- What teams do you belong to beyond the walls of the school?
- One of the best teams to which I belong is an unofficial alliance, where ideas and thoughts are safely shared, analysed, criticised and developed.
- Some of my most valuable learning comes from beyond the school walls – my global PLN.