Collaboration 5: Underestimating the costs
One of seven posts about collaboration and why it nearly always fails to deliver results, inspired by Morten T Hansen's Collaboration.
The quality of the teacher is the number one factor in the improvement of an education system, collaboration is the key factor in improving the quality of that teacher.
Collaboration helps increase academic success, yet most collaboration doesn't work. Here is one of Morten T. Hansen's six key reasons for collaboration failures:
Underestimating the costs
There are environments where people are under the impression that others are just out for their own gain. There is a distrust of “helping the other side”.
Schools might find this in several forms: parents who don't want their children to be in mixed ability classes, where students can help improve each other's capacities; teachers who don't want to share their resources, in case it ends up becoming an ever descending spiral to the lowest quality demoninator in their department or school; students who don't want to share their ideas for a project, lest they "give away their ideas" and let another student gain just as good or better a grade.
Generally, the costs of collaboration are always there, subconsciously or explicitly. The leader's job is working out how much those costs represent for the actors in a potential collaboration, how much the collaboration is likely to bring to them and see whether there is a mental profit leftover for each collaborator. If not, then the costs may be too great, the perception being that collaboration will only go to "help the other side" (and somehow take away from me).
Picture by epSos.de