The NYTimes Magazine Work Issue is Out

Just in time for your weekend reading: The New York Times Magazine Work Issue is Out. It’s got good reads on what makes effective teams, meetings, and work-life balance.

Here’s a snippet of What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team by Charles Duhigg.

“When Rozovsky arrived on campus, she was assigned to a study group carefully engineered by the school to foster tight bonds. Study groups have become a rite of passage at M.B.A. programs, a way for students to practice working in teams and a reflection of the increasing demand for employees who can adroitly navigate group dynamics… To prepare students for that complex world, business schools around the country have revised their curriculums to emphasize team-focused learning.

Every day, between classes or after dinner, Rozovsky and her four teammates gathered to discuss homework assignments, compare spreadsheets and strategize for exams. Everyone was smart and curious, and they had a lot in common: They had gone to similar colleges and had worked at analogous firms. These shared experiences, Rozovsky hoped, would make it easy for them to work well together. But it didn’t turn out that way. ‘‘There are lots of people who say some of their best business-school friends come from their study groups,’’ Rozovsky told me. ‘‘It wasn’t like that for me.’ 

Instead, Rozovsky’s study group was a source of stress. ‘‘I always felt like I had to prove myself,’’ she said. The team’s dynamics could put her on edge. When the group met, teammates sometimes jockeyed for the leadership …”  Read the entire piece here.

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The Key to Effective Teams in Schools: Emotional Intelligence

flickr photo by Clover_1 http://flickr.com/photos/clover_1/1522036508 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Writing for EdutopiaElena Aguilar  recently wrote a great piece on Emotional Intelligence and its importance for team success.

“I’m going to share one of my greatest discoveries about developing teams. This understanding has led me to take actions that otherwise would never occur to me when working with groups. I also think it might be one of the keys to building effective teams of educators who can collaborate, learn together, and transform our schools.

You’ve probably heard about emotional intelligence (EI) — the ability to recognize when you’re experiencing emotions, to have strategies for managing them, and to recognize other people’s emotions and respond appropriately to them. A team leader’s EI is extremely important, but there’s also such thing as a group’s collective emotional intelligence. And this, say the researchers, is what sets high-functioning teams apart from average ones.

Why Group Emotional Intelligence Matters

A team’s emotional intelligence might be the most important predictor of what it will do together, what conversations will sound like, and how members will feel about going to meetings — and just because a team is comprised of individuals with strong emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that the team itself will have high EI. Groups take on their own character.”  

Read the rest of the piece here.

Common Mistakes During Difficult Conversations

flickr photo by Col Frankland http://flickr.com/photos/colfrankland/8516162893 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Our ability to communicate effectively is essential to our success and that of our teams, schools or organizations.

Here’s an interesting piece from the Harvard Business Review on 9 common mistakes made during difficult conversations.  They include rehearsing, oversimplification, and moving into combat mode.

Here’s the paragraph on oversimplification:

“If the subject of your argument were straightforward, chances are you wouldn’t be arguing about it. Because it’s daunting to try and tackle several issues at once, we may try to roll these problems up into a less-complex Über-Problem. But the existence of such a beast is often an illusion. To avoid oversimplifying, remind yourself that if the issue weren’t complicated, it probably wouldn’t be so hard to talk about.”  

Read the entire piece here.

Great New Posts from Edutopia

edutopia

Edutopia is one of the best sites out there for teachers who are seeking new ideas and wanting to grow as educators.

Several new posts are perfect for the start of the school year.

13 Common Sayings to Avoid

“When I was a new teacher in middle school several centuries ago, I occasionally said things to students that I later regretted. In the last few years, I have witnessed or heard teachers say additional regretful things to students. Recently I asked students in my graduate courses (all practicing teachers) if they ever told their students anything they regret. After hearing these regrets and talking with children about what teachers said that bothered them, I compiled a list of things that never should be said.

I’ve narrowed my list to 13 representative items. Some of these are related to control issues, others to motivation, and still more to management. All reflect frustration and/or anger. Let’s start the upcoming school year by wiping these sayings out of our vernacular.

“You have potential but don’t use it.”

Students feel insulted when they hear this, and while some accept it as a challenge to do better, more lose their motivation to care. Instead, say in a caring way, “How can I help you reach your full potential?” Read the rest of the list here.


The Key to Effective Teams in Schools: Emotional Intelligence

“You’ve probably heard about emotional intelligence (EI) — the ability to recognize when you’re experiencing emotions, to have strategies for managing them, and to recognize other people’s emotions and respond appropriately to them. A team leader’s EI is extremely important, but there’s also such thing as a group’s collective emotional intelligence. And this, say the researchers, is what sets high-functioning teams apart from average ones.

Why Group Emotional Intelligence Matters

A team’s emotional intelligence might be the most important predictor of what it will do together, what conversations will sound like, and how members will feel about going to meetings — and just because a team is comprised of individuals with strong emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that the team itself will have high EI. Groups take on their own character.” Read more here.


Inquiry-Based Learning: The Power of Asking the Right Questions

“As a fourth-grade teacher at an inquiry-based learning school, I’ve come to understand the importance of planning. Planning is critical and also best practice. I still plan at the beginning of each week and each day. A teacher without a plan has no purpose or learning objectives for her students.

With student-directed learning, there’s a major difference between planning and flexibility. I plan according to what my students need and how I’m going to assess their skills or knowledge, just like every other teacher. The difference lies in the delivery of instruction. A teacher must always be flexible and adaptable.

The Power of the Right Questions

You might wonder how lesson planning works if you’re always reconstructing on the fly. I’ve found that if the students take the lesson in a different direction than what I’ve planned for, it’s my job to light their way to where my intention and their intention meet. Most often, if their curiosity takes us in a completely different direction, I let them run with it. However, I also let them find the connection between what I need them to learn and what they want to learn.” Read the rest of the piece here.

Great New Blog for Global Connections & Inspiration

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Judy **: http://flickr.com/photos/judy-van-der-velden/6700513557

There are a variety of ways to help your students connect globally.  If you are looking for ideas and inspiration, you should check out this great blog called the Global Classroom Project.

From their about page:

“We warmly welcome new members into the #globalclassroom community, and are happy to provide any support and guidance you need to get started on your global collaboration journey.

To join our community, please join our current project wiki and fill out the registration form. We would also highly recommend joining our online spaces on Google Plus and Facebook. You can follow us on Twitter at @gcporganisers.”

From a recent post titled, “Reflections on International Mindedness:”

A guest post courtesy of Toni Olivieri-Barton who blogs at toniobarton.wordpress.com.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, “international-minded” students are defined as demonstrating all of the following attributes: open-minded, risk-taker, reflective, principled, balanced, inquirer, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators and caring. There are many ways to give our students enough time to practice these attributes. I have incorporated them into the library time and collaborating with teachers to allow students to show these attributes to others around the world

Global projects assist teachers and students in being able to demonstrate all those attributes, but especially open-minded, risk-taking, and reflective. In a global project, classrooms around the world meet virtually to discuss cultural similarities and differences. For students who may never get to travel outside of their neighborhood or school, this global experience is essential because they will hear ideas and opinions that they themselves have not thought about. Even understanding students in a different school in the United States can open up their minds allowing them to care and reflect on their life.” Read the entire piece here.