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.