Find Gems: Busting Silos in Your School

Find Gems: Busting Silos in Your School

Do you want some outstanding, practical, “its already working for us at our school today” ideas for how to bust silos at your school?  Read on!

If we had gathered a roomful of educators three years ago and started talking about “silos”, the vast majority would have thought the topic was grain storage.  In the last year I have not met a single educator who does NOT understand that silos are the barriers that inhibit collaboration in any organization, and specifically in schools. In all my travels and school visits, silos are one of the Big Three obstacles to innovation.

Last night I was honored to guest moderate the weekly #isedchat Twitter chat on the subject of “Busting Silos in Schools”. Though this is largely a US independent school group, we pulled in several public school educators and a small group of thought/action leaders from New Zealand.

Here are the prompts I used to provoke a waterfall of generative ideation and success sharing; you could use some or all of these in a faculty meeting, for example.  Remember, the entire chat was one hour, so each of these topic discussions took all of about 7 minutes:

  1. Share a “How might we…?” question that could lead to fewer silos and promote collaborative change at your school.
  2. Share a “What if…?” question that would lead to more network connections with colleagues, ideas, knowledge sources.
  3. What are the toughest silos to bust at your school? Why? How do leaders promote/protect silos at your school?
  4. Who is responsible for busting silos at your school? Anyone? If the answer is “everyone”, what are you doing about it?
  5. Share ideas for busting silos between subject departments and divisions? Between teachers and admins?
  6. Is your school in a silo with respect to other schools? If not, how have you busted that silo? What are key connection mechanisms?
  7. What will YOU do tomorrow or next week to chip away at a silo at your school?

I could mine this treasure trove for you but that would be antithetical to what we know about good learning.  If you are passionate about enhancing collaboration and networks of people and ideas, you will spend 30 minutes reviewing the Twitter feed from last night, and you will be able to pull two, five, or 50 ideas that can work at your school. There are some real gems. AND you can connect directly with the person who shared that idea or success story. Some of those who shared have clearly developed a laser focus on this problem and are doing MANY things, not just one or two, to truly enhance the kind of frequent, authentic connectivity without which the brushfires of innovation just do not proliferate.

Thanks to all who joined and shared last night. Happy busting!

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