Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership
My previous post shared a few sociograms describing different sets of relationships at a school. Jeff Wayman, who blogs here, responded by asking what lines in the instructional collaboration network “should” look like. Closer together? More varied? The problem with the picture posted last time was that it was prettier but contained less information.
So here is a new sociogram. This is the same network (who collaborates with who around teaching), but with colors representing departments and sizes representing number of ties. This time I’ve included the isolates — people who collaborated with no one off to the left. I’ve also included arrow heads. It turns out that it’s possible to be named as a collaborator, but for that status not to be reciprocated. This kind of asymmetry is common. For example, I might consider Jeff a “friend,” but maybe he thinks I’m a colleague than a friend. In this case, I think it’s fair to say that some sort of collaboration happened if there’s one arrow head, but that something special (stronger? more memorable?) is happening if there are two arrow heads.
So what’s up here? We could throw some math at this to really describe what’s happening, but even a gut read here is pretty easy to do.
So what? What “should” this look like? I think it depends on what you want out of your school. My sense is that this sociogram fits this particular school’s culture. I didn’t hear many complaints during interviews; in fact, I heard a lot of pride about collaboration. Someone else might want administrators more involved, departments more tightly connected, or more cross-department work. But realistically, this was a high school, and I think they’ve done a good job here of resisting the temptation to be totally closed to one another.
I’m not a fan of pushing collaboration just for the sake of pushing collaboration. But if this school wanted to be more collaborative, some small steps are below.