Not too long ago, I shared a little bit about a new idea that my friend, Kari Espin and I had about coaching and what this might look like when seen from a different perspective. I did this through a blog post and we received lots of positive feedback and interest in the idea. Since that time, we've been working toward developing a model that would make sense and give us direction as we actually begin to implement this idea with a group of educators.
We've always been big believers in inquiry-based models for the classroom so it only made sense that we made inquiry the foundation for the Thought Partner Collaborative. In doing some research, we read a wonderful post from George Couros regarding inquiry-based professional learning. I specifically love the benefits that he listed as he explained what this might look like for educators. He mentioned the importance of being a master learner, unleashing innovative potential, passions as an element of learning, and empowering educators to lead out on change.
In order to make sense of what we thought needed to be present for this collaborative to work, we created the Thought Partner Collaborative (TPC). In short, it's a coaching model driven by inquiry, designed to identify and ignite emotion, inspire change, and encourage innovation.
Inquire - This piece of the collaborative is foundational and involves introductions, encourages self-awareness, and establishes expectations for the work. Identifying purpose and exploring the possibilities will play a role in building anticipation and excitement about what lies ahead.
Ignite - When looking for research on teacher emotions and professional development, we came across a study published in 2019 by Margareta M. Thomson and Jeanine E. Turner that found the following, "Our study results suggest that teachers' emotions and values...greatly influence their learning of new knowledge and triggered positive changes in their classroom teaching." This piece of the collaborative is about identifying and igniting emotions and practicing empathy that will eventually drive the desire to create change.
Inspire - Inspiration drives creativity. The why is so important in this process but so is the how. We hope to inspire the educators within the collaborative by connecting educators, collaborating to develop solutions, and creating opportunities for implementation.
Innovate - James Joyce said that, "Mistakes are the portals of discovery." Throughout the collaborative, we will encourage educators to be willing to take risks by establishing a culture that reframes failure as a springboard for innovation.
One of our priorities in designing this new model is to ensure that collaboration becomes a natural part of the culture that supports sustainable change. Throughout the process, we will use Flipgrid to make connections, build relationships, and collect practical ideas that can be shared and implemented immediately. The work will require a willingness to be transparent, see things from new perspectives, and reflect throughout the experience in order to find meaning and purpose.
We look forward to making this a reality very soon with a school district that we are working with to create real change. I will update and share what's working and not working periodically on the blog. Please feel free to post your thoughts, ideas, and questions in the comments below.