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In a recent (January 30th, 2012) New Yorker article on “Groupthink,” author Jonah Lehrer observes the following: The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks. Lehrer's statement, grounded in decades of research in social psychology, is that the most constructive form of collaboration is one in which a diverse group of people, i.e., those from different discipline areas and backgrounds, engage in “the vigorous exchange of clashing perspectives.” Educators who have participated in effective PLCs have learned that some degree of conflict between group members is not only healthy but, in many cases, necessary to move the group forward. However, when strongly-opinionated individuals are unwilling to even consider differing perspectives, progress is unlikely. Perhaps ...

Getting Unstuck in Education
Getting unstuck in education

Are you suffering from initiative fatigue? That frustration stemming from being handed yet another “program” or “reform” when you don't have enough time or resources to fully implement the ones already under way (Freedman, 1992)? Whenever I'm asked to work with a school, I ask what other initiatives they're undertaking so I can make connections with my work and estimate the potential level of initiative fatigue. “Doing more with less” only goes so far, doesn't it?

Symptoms of initiative fatigue include the following:

Abbreviating. For example, one school district insisted that professional learning communities limit weekly meetings to twenty minutes, which probably isn't enough time for deep conversations about student learning.

Assuming. Here, leadership might provide high-quality professional development but ...

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