When Schools Learn to Share

Do teachers know how to share? How about when those teachers are in different schools, or districts?

I’ve been looking at collaboration across the school system recently. Whilst this may seem a little off topic from my usual posts on innovation, creativity and business modelling, I believe there are some important lessons to be learned. Innovation rarely happen in a vacuum, and the image of the lone inventor is now largely consigned to the shopping channel.

In this article on sharing between schools in Shanghai, we find out that mentoring relationships are being established between teachers in schools at the top of the league table and those at the bottom.  The relationships seem to continue until there is demonstrable improvement in performance. And it seems to work. kids in Shanghai are some of the best performing kids in the world.

So how can this help with innovation? Here are a few ideas:

  • If you are going to measure performance, find ways to improve it too. League tables should be a starting point, not an end point
  • Knowledge sharing is about more than just sharing information. You need to share experience too. Mentoring is a great way to do this. Perhaps there are ways to break this down into bite sized virtual chunks, with excellent teachers sharing their resources and experience through podcasts, published lesson plans and so on
  • Whilst mentoring between schools may not work for everyone (think of the travel and time for a start), the concept of sharing experience and knowledge between schools and not just within schools is compelling



3 thoughts on “When Schools Learn to Share

  1. I think technology can break down one of the barriers. For example, Google+ Hang-outs and Circles would be a great way to work the problem of having experts work with educators that need help with a specific area and eliminate the need for being geographically tethered.

    1. I agree, technology could certainly break down some of the geographic barriers. I wonder if there isn’t a cultural barrier to sharing teaching resources also?

      1. Possibly. I’m an adjunct instructor at a local community college. For me, it seems that some instructors feel they are on an island. I teach nights, so it seems even worse.

        You are giving me an idea with this post. Thanks.

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