Whether we are working on education policy or we are teaching Art Education in the classroom we face chaos, frustration, isolation, and uncertainty every day. The statistics for teachers to abandon the profession after just one year are staggering. We are all racing to keep up with the new technologically-plugged-in-student, new tests and standards, and to find the time to actually teach. We feel like there isn’t anyone there to catch us when we fall and yet we have this untapped source: each other.
Collaboration and building partnerships in our field can provide the support system that we need. It has the capacity to end isolation and frustration, and to provide experience and resources. As a collective, we have the capacity for rapid advancement and a more powerful reach. The importance of interaction and interdependence whether in the classroom or a county, a state or a nation, is a simple idea but generally not sustainable – unless we model it on what has proven successful in today’s market.
If we use the concept of the Interactive Approach which includes a shared identity, purpose, vision, and goals, this will help us to have a sustainable and more effective collaboration. These are the basic principles:
1) Shared Cultural Identity
- Recognizes that we are a united diversity and encourages sustainable creative advancement that is built on individual talent, where everyone is considered an asset
- Differences in abilities, experience and resources allow for more objective, more creative solutions
- Understands that people who work in different areas should work together to produce new ideas
2) Shared Purpose
- Focuses on Teamwork
- Respects autonomy and freedom; it must be safe to tell the truth
- Regards flexibility and pro-activity as major instruments and key components
- Celebrates competition as a positive way to further quality work and programs with a spirit of cooperation
3) Shared Vision
- Uses a strategic approach in which the operating norms can be called into question
- Uses a creative approach toward innovation, and adopts the latest technology and tools
- Allow for flexibility in plans. Be open to change.
4) Shared Goals and Objectives
- Fosters learning from each other
- initiates a sense of direction that encompasses and is dictated by the purpose and the vision
Whether these ideas are employed by policy makers or by educators working together, these principals are designed to sustain and enhance our interactions for the common good.
By employing these principals you will be amazed at the resulting partnerships and long term benefits it will have on your organization and community.