Improving Relationships Within the Schoolhouse Roland S. Barth March 2006, Vol. 63, Number 6 Pages 8-13 Educational Leadership Synthesized by Bobbie W. Pfingstler, Ed.D., Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction Central Intermediate Unit # 10
Greatest Influence on Student Achievement • Relationships among the adults • Trusting, generous, helpful, and cooperative among administrators and teachers = trusting, generous, helpful, and cooperative between teachers and students • Trusting, generous, helpful, and cooperative staff = trusting, generous, helpful, and cooperative relationships between students and students; • Therefore, trusting, generous helpful, and cooperative relationships between teachers and parents. Set Good Examples
Least Influence on Student Achievement • Fearful relationships among administrators and teachers • Competitive, suspicious, and corrosive relationships among administrators and teachers • These qualities disseminate throughout the school community.
School Culture Relationships in a School Culture • enrich • or diminish
Roland Barth’s Non-discussables(Just discussed in the parking lot, during the car pool, at the dinner table) • Leadership of the principal • Issues of race • Underperforming teachers • Personal visions for a good school • Nature of relationships among the adults within the school
What Paralyzes School Improvement? • When non-discussables take extraordinary power over us • When non-discussables litter the schoolhouse floor. • When non-discussables lurk like land mines • When non-discussables trip wires emanate from each. Thetalk
Relationships in Schools • Adversarial Relationships • Parallel Play • Congenial Relationships • Collegial Relationships
Parallel Play • 2- and 3-year olds – busily engaged, but seldom interacting • Live in separate caves. • Self-contained classroom – door shut • Cost of concealing – don’t learn to examine and improve our practices from our colleagues.
Adversarial Relationships • “We educators have drawn our wagons into a circle and trained our guns – on each other.” • 7th grade algebra teachers lobs a metaphorical hand grenade, saying to parents, “You don’t want your child in that classroom. All they do is fool around with blocks.” • “You don’t want your child in that classroom; it’s a grim, joyless place with desks in rows and endless worksheets.” • Educators withhold craft knowledge: child development, professional development, leadership, and curriculum. (Ex. Lack of courage, generosity to share, retired teachers and principals) • Too often educators root for the failure of their peers rather than assist with their successes.
Congenial Relationships • Interactive and positive • Pouring coffee for colleague. • Principal gives a teacher a ride home. • Personal and friendly
Collegial Relationships • Collegiality • Hardest to establish • “Getting good players is easy. Getting them to play together is the hard part.” Casey Stengel • Collegiality is about growing a professional learning community. • Educators talking with one another about practice. • Educators sharing their craft knowledge. • Educators observing one another while they are engaged in practice. • Educators rooting for one another’s success.
A Group of Colleagues • Empowerment • Recognition • Satisfaction • Success in our work Masterful teacher, principal, or student – active participants!