Hoarding Individuals…Sharing Franchises…Teams

In a blog post titled Hoarding Culture or Sharing Culture, Rob Jacobs provides the following descriptions:

Hoarding Culture— teachers and schools keep their expertise, their knowledge, their ideas, and their innovations to themselves.

Sharing Culture—- these teachers know that their fellow teachers, their fellow principals, and their fellow schools can benefit and should benefit from their knowledge, ideas, creativity, and information. Sharers get a “reward” out of helping others benefit from what they know.

Jacobs introduced me to an approach to knowledge management called “Yokoten.”

The Japanese word means “taking from one place to another.” Toyota’s culture is a sharing culture. They correctly understand that knowledge, ideas, and data are organizational resources. A good idea should not be wasted but should be implemented. In addition, and this is key, a good idea should not just be used in a single location, but should be exported to all parts of the organization. Their sharing culture obligates that an individual share with their peers and leaders are expected to circulate good ideas throughout the organization.1

Jacobs’ descriptions fit with the progression flow that I have been identifying for Professional Learning Communities.

(Click on slide to enlarge)

…from individuals meeting to franchises to teams.

At the initial stage, individuals meeting, you often hear people complaining that they have to go to the meeting: “ this is my time I should be doing my work” With the emphasis on MY, it’s a hoarding culture.

The first step forward is when teachers begin helping each other. ”When I had a student like that, I found this worked”… When a teacher’s shared idea or strategy is accepted with appreciation, a sharing culture begins to grow. When teachers find that ideas from colleagues improve student learning, commitment to time in PLCs increases.

Franchises are formed when teacher share their creativity with each other and work together to design instructional or assessment strategies together, such as 9 week common assessments or a unit of instruction. In the early stages of franchising, strategies designed together are implemented individually. A team designs a common assessment but doesn’t look at each other’s lesson plans.

As PLCs progress from franchises toward teams, teachers begin to modify their individual practices to align with others creating a consistent practice that benefits students. A PLC of freshman teachers decides on common notebook criteria for their courses that encourages organizational skills. A 6-7-8 middle school PLC implements common expectations for students over the three years.

At full implementation, PLCs become teams. Members take shared responsibility for student success. On a K-1 -2 vertical PLC where the team has the same students over three years, members share responsibility for all the students across the three years. On a high school science PLC a biology teacher assumes responsibility for students’ success in chemistry.

Student achievement is important-too important- for a hoarding culture or working as individuals. Our students deserve the best that sharing and teaming can offer.

1Hoarding Culture or Sharing Culture blog by Rob Jacobs

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3 Responses to “ Hoarding Individuals…Sharing Franchises…Teams ”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    Steve,
    I am a math facilitator. I am trying very hard to get our teachers to post their lesson plans, ideas, creative projects, website resources and assessments to our Wiki. In doing this it will create that sharing community that your are talking about. Once teachers understand that sharing will help us work smarter not harder we will all benefit. As teachers we all have certain lesson plans/units that we have developed more than others. Those are the ones to share. Take a look at what I have started so far and hoping that it catches on. http://tillesesl.pbworks.com
    Thanks for all you do. Rebecca

  2. Rob Jacobs Says:

    Steve, one of the things that you highlighted that I feel is so important is the language that PLC teams use as they move from individual, franchises, and teams. The language used at each level is so revealing. It reminds of the work done around Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan and John King. They point out that at each level the “tribes” are using a different language to describe their situation and work.

    I am sure as PLC move from the individual to the franchise or the team, the language that they are using to describe their work around increasing student achievement sounds different.

    Great post.

  3. Stephen G. Barkley Says:

    Rebecca and Rob

    There is a connection in your two posts… Rob is right that the language will tell where the group is currently functioning… Rebecca..what language are you currently hearing? When the Math teachers see that they are responsible for for all the students success, there is a greater reason to post lessons…more than helping each other, they begin to see a bigger picture. If I have your students from last year it helps to see lessons your did and if you will have my students next year it helps me to see the lessons you are doing… beginning to see that they are on a team planning for student success..

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Steve Barkley

For the past 30 years, Steve has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. Read more…

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