Saturday, February 28, 2009

OD assignment for Valley High School

In looking at the SLC implementation at Valley High School within the context of the larger organization...key concepts:
Approaches that will be helpful for me in doing this OD are:
Appreciative Inquiry
Force Field Analysis (Lewin)
Internal vs. External demands/effects

Problems observed and/or discussed at VHS:
Communication (administrators and directives given to SLCs)
Buy-In (words and actions do not match)
Conflict within members of the group
No data at outset (what will "results" be compared to?)

The above were observed within the SLCs AND are a reflection of the culture of the larger org (the school itself)

Monday, February 9, 2009

OD assignment

I am looking at the implementation of the SLC concept at a site and discussing how it may be a reflection of the workings of the larger context (the school site). i.e. - Inherent to the success of small learning communities is a shared vision of what the group stands for, what it hopes to accomplish, and how might it go about accomplishing those goals. This same premise is applicable to the school in the larger context. Does the SLC accomplish this? Does the school? Further, SLC success relies upon the transmission and interplay of explicit and tacit knowledge amongst group members. Does this occur? Does any new knowledge building occur and if so, is that disseminated to the SLC and/or the organization ? If so, how? If not, why? What barriers exist? Does the organization AND the SLC a single-loop learning org or a double-loop? What examples exist? If not, what would help facilitate this?
What recommendations can I make to help the functionality of the SLC within the larger org?

Conflict Mediation & random thoughts

Love this topic. Not that I love conflict, but the topic and information covered go hand in hand with a lot of the work I do as a counselor. In my experience, both personally and professionally, one of the biggest challenges is getting people away from the "I have to win" or one of us has to be wrong concept. A productive answer does not have to be a study in dichotomy. The real skill comes in the communication and the negotiation. Also in helping individuals to identify what kind of modality they use in addressing conflict. On a personal level, I see a lot of avoidance and accomodation issues in people around me; at work I see a lot of compromise and collaboration, but also a lot of competition. I agree that there is a time and a place to employ any one of these -- knowing when to use which technique is the skill.

Regarding the 2/7/09 symposium at UCSB. Outstanding. I wish we could have heard more from Dr. Sally Kingston as I felt she was trying to take a lot of information and condense it into a much shorter time frame for us. Jack O'connell was fantastic -- and very funny -- which I appreciate. All in all a great day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Post #2 - Appreciative Inquiry and OD questions

No class last week thus no readings and no blog, right?

The Appreciative Inquiry article by Dr. Bushe was definitely a little more positive and "human" than the rest of the readings regarding OD issues for this week. I like the concept of having to believe in something before you see it (contrary to the adage you've got to see it to believe it). There is actually a U2 song with a line something to the effect of it's got to be believed before it is seen. A little pop trivia there for you, but I do think that way of thinking has its place. I like the Bushe article but also think it makes certain assumptions -- like the assumption that everyone is going to have a "peak" work experience to share and that everyone is going to act in the best interest of the group in their "collective imaging." I am not trying to be a naysayer here, I'm just thinking that the author was fairly optimistic in his view of humans (emotional beings) in their work environment (social settings).

MY OD PROJECT (consultants are Dan Eller and Rich Malfatti)

To look at (diagnose) the newly implemented PLC/SLC design at San Joaquin High School (not the real name, of course). PLC = Professional Learning Community (comprised of SLC leaders) SLC = Small Learning Community (teachers, counselors, administrators who are assigned to a certain population of students).

Initial questions regarding observable conditions include:
1. What are the SLC groupings? How are students divided or put into SLCs and how are staff members then placed in SLCs?
2. When do SLC teacher/counselor/admin groups get together?
3. What is discussed at those meetings?
4. What is the tone? Who leads those meetings? Democratic in nature?
5. By whom is the agenda for a meeting set? Or is it an open forum?
6. What are the expected outcomes or intentions of the SLC/PLC process in general?
7. What are the outcomes of each meeting?
8. Does everyone seem to be on board or are some members not interested? Are some overly aggressive or over-bearing?
9. What is the measure of "success" of a particular SLC?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ED 401 Post #1

Three phrases most likely to be spoken (at least in UCSB JDP classes with cohort 5) by Dr. Patrick Faverty: "We are all emotional beings in a social setting"; "Trust the process"; and "So what?" Oh yeah, and one more, "Figure it out." The first two -- emotional beings in a social setting and advice about trusting the process are, from my perspective thus far into ED 401, the most relevant not only to this class but probably to the JDP and maybe life in general. I found the readings confirmed those statements. As someone with a background in counseling, I loved the foundational readings for the course -- especially those Kurt Lewin, Donald Schon, and Edward Schein.

Tuckman's article and the U of Oregon model on group work and the ideas of forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning discuss a common or applicable framework -- but I think that group preocesses may go through each of those stages over and over again, and jump back and forth between stages -- especially if the group is together for an extended period of time working on varying/changes tasks. I think we've seen within our coursework and group work through the JDP the importance of recognizing that we are all emotional beings in a social setting and thus require validation if the process is to work.