Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Collaboration trumps competition

Alberta's Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk once said:

"I always encourage every school to try to put the other one out of business..."


This statement is irresponsible.

Here's why.

Would we encourage doctors and nurses to try and put other hospitals out of business?

Would we encourage police officers to try and put other police stations out of business?

Would we encourage one church to put another out of business?

Would we encourage one community to put another out of business?

Would we encourage firemen to try and put other fire halls out of business?

Would we encourage our Education Minister to put our Health Minister or Finance Minister out of business?

I've had teachers from other schools contact me and ask for resources and information that would help them teach their students. Likewise, I've reached out to others for assistance. I know that I've been thankful for their help, and I've likely helped others too. But if we take Lukaszuk's advice then we would be foolish to collaborate with anyone other than our own school.

For me this is as scary as it is unacceptable. I'm the only teacher at my school, so if all the other schools wish to compete with me to put me out of business, who the hell do I have to collaborate with. Because of the context of my teaching assignment, I'm isolated enough without having the Minister of Education encouraging other teachers and schools to put me out of business.

We all have a limited amount of time, effort and resources, and it is grossly irresponsible to encourage competition when we could be collaborating.

Collaboration trumps competition.

Always.

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