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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 ...

Working with Common Polarities in Education
Working with common polarities in education

Ateacher gripes about too many meetings. Is he a complainer? Are there too many meetings? Or is the school struggling to leverage the polarity of Autonomy AND Collaboration?

Members of the science department are upset with the district's curriculum coordinator, who purchased and distributed assessments that correlate with student proficiency on their statewide test. Are the assessments inappropriate for your school's students? Are the teachers unwilling to be team players? Or is the district overfocused on centralized decisions to the neglect of building-level decisions?

Being aware of several crucial universal polarities such as these can help education leaders refrain from directing a fire hose at a supposed problem that is in reality a polarity system ...

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