Often in the beginning of the year we are tirelessly working on routines and structures that will help students develop independence, and while yes independence is certainly important, there might be just as much value in nurturing interdependence too.
In the Zanders' book,The Art of Possibility they describe this in such a way that exudes deep rooted potential. The book suggests that we look for the unseen thread that ties us all together. When we think about engaging in that type of connection with the people we work with we begin to access the story of “us.” In this type of story we benefit from “all of each of us, and all of all of us.”
We can collectively make an effort to strengthen the story of “we” in subtle ways and in more overt ways creating a unity or togetherness that fuels happiness, risk-taking, and success.
Subtle Ways We Can Build the Story of “WE”
If we can be mindful of the language we are using and the ways in which we are communicating to others we can then purposefully make choices that further develop the story of “we.” Even in small shifts of our language we can emphasize and grow togetherness.
More Pronounced Ways We Can Build the Story of WE
With subtle shifts in language we can then also move towards more overt ways to emphasize the importance of “us.” Below are a few experiences that can be done to help learners not only talk about interdependence and its importance, but actually experience the energy and power that can be generated when we do.
Learners can have a chance to share out struggles openly then other peers can help suggest advice, offer encouragement, or even next steps.
It might sound something like this…..”We have all experienced various different struggles these last few weeks, but today we will openly share this with one another and then seek out feedback. Collectively we will be able to get to know one another better and also appreciate one another’s struggles a bit too.”
Writers or readers can have class goals displayed and work together as a team to come up with a specific action plan on how they will work towards those goals.
It might sound something like this… “Writers as we move into our new writing genre let’s think about some goals we have as a team. What can we do together throughout the writing process that might help one another grow as writers?”
When we put our attention to creating a place where the “we” or “us” means more than the “I” or “you” the possibilities that grow from that are limitless. Let’s begin looking for those unseen threads and feel the power of interdependence when we do.