Establishing a Collaborative Culture in Schools
“School is a building which has four walls with tomorrow inside.”
While individual work has the power to make a difference, collective work done by a community brings concrete change. From Schools to work places, having a sense of community inspires every member to work together to change lives and ensure the growth of the community as a whole.
Building a community builds an environment where members have mutual respect for each; and wish to contribute for each other’s better. With sentiments of love and care inside the system, and a relationship that etches beyond just work, the opportunities for development are more. The teachers, students and the Principal can together share a bond which makes the schools a wonderful learning place.
The Doon School in Dehradun has been extremely successful in creating a community of teachers that work collectively to work for the children’s greater good. Teachers take a friendly and informed interest in the pupils in the boarding houses to which they are assigned, contributing to the life of the boarding house through social and extra-curricular activities, as well as through specific duties. There are specific outings per term with tutors too. These include midterms, “nights out”, tutor day outings and social service together.
How do we create a Sense of Community in Schools?
Create a Sense of Shared Vision
For a community to work together in Harmony, the people in it must share a sense of common purpose and goal. Having this shared vision for tomorrow will ensure greater growth and provide a platform to work together, and have discussions on the different aspects that can ensure that the school as a whole is achieving a particular goal.
1. Have Open Programs
To achieve a common sense of purpose, the school can conduct open programs- that the teachers, students and parents can attend to understand what principles and morals the school stands for, and what purpose it wishes to achieve. This program can also act as a platform where people can interact outside the classroom environment and really get to know each other. This will become a large step to creating a community that works collectively.
2. Teacher Meetings
The Principal can also conduct private meetings for the teachers only so that they get a chance to learn about each other and understand how together they can inculcate the school morals into the children.
3. Use the Annual Programs
One more way to achieve this is by discussing the school vision in the school functions or parent teacher meetings, so even those parents who don’t attend extra programs can get an idea about the school values.
Ensuring Commitment to Work Collectively
Along with building the idea of teamwork, it is also very important to ensure that everyone involved participates.
This can be done in many ways.
1. Ensure Participation in Annual Events
The staff members, students and parents, all must be encouraged to actively participate and contribute in the annual events. This way, the people will get a common interaction grounds to learn, understand and grow together.
2. Celebrate Happy Events Together
The teachers can make small efforts like sing Happy Birthday for a student’s Birthday during the school assembly and have care for the students. For the Staff members as well, the teachers can together celebrate birthdays or events of happiness. This will initiate a relationship beyond work and encourage commitment in the members to work for the community.
3. Ensuring Credibility
The teachers can maintain records of the Student Performances and together keep a check on student outcomes. Doing this consistently on a regular basis will bring credibility and greater commitment.
4. Take Feedback
In addition to all this, the teachers together can take decent feedback sessions from one another and improve in their weak areas.
Establish Group Norms
While it might be easy to make certain teachers participate, others may refuse to do it. In such a case the Principal can establish group norms that ensure that there is a collective effort to work.
1. Compulsory Group Meetings
The Principal can conduct monthly meetings that everyone has to take part in, with everyone getting a chance to talk and while one talks, others should listen. In addition to this, participation should be made compulsory. Important conflict areas can also be discussed in the meetings.
2. Sharing Opinions
If a certain change is being made in the School’s system, everyone’s opinions should be taken into account. Also, the School Psychologist can be asked to play a special role in the meetings and any proceedings made.
Having a School that runs with a sense of shared vision, commitment and has group norms will not only ensure wonderful growth of the students, but will also help the members achieve personal development. If every school makes the efforts to have this vision, the children will be able to grow in a background that feels home and be comfortable in discussing problems.