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ERIC Number: EJ972311
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Getting to No: Building True Collegiality in Schools
Evans, Robert
Independent School, v71 n2 Win 2012
Amid all the controversy about how to improve America's schools, the importance of strengthening collegial collaboration among teachers has drawn almost unanimous support. However, what schools have instead of collegiality is congeniality. Congeniality is about getting along well, being friendly, warm, and supportive. Schools are full of good people who are cordial to and considerate of one another, who care about each other. Congeniality provides an essential foundation for a faculty's sense of community and its work with students. What it "doesn't" provide is any meaningful attention to that work. By itself, it fosters a culture of niceness and privacy, not a culture of growth. True collegiality requires more than being cordial and caring. It requires a focus on development and performance. It means sharing--deprivatizing--the work of teaching, and it means talking candidly, and being able to disagree constructively, about professional practice. For most educators, none of this comes easily, which surprises and dismays many advocates of improved collegiality, who assume that an appetite and aptitude for collaboration should be the norm in schools. But the fact is that most teachers are not ideally suited to collaborate--and the reasons make sense. They reflect inherent features of teaching itself and of teachers themselves--tendencies that are not only natural, but in key ways crucial to success with students. The forging and sustaining of a truly collegial, collaborative ethos in a faculty means confronting deeply embedded structural and personal challenges. To flourish, collegiality requires a foundation of "shared commitment to appropriate candor in the service of collective growth." This commitment must ultimately be broad and deep--a consensus that, once established, is both regularly renewed and built into the structures of faculty life. As with so much else in education, the building of true collegiality is a journey, an ongoing exploration of teaching and learning. Teachers who embark on this journey have a real chance to learn new ways of looking at themselves and their work and to broaden their view and deepen their craft--and, thus, enrich not only the quality of their teaching and of their students' learning, but of their lives together. (Contains 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A