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Scenarios: Learning through conflict

The following scenarios provide a glimpse into how two different teacher learning communities dealt with differences, disagreements and conflict. As with most learning communities, the excerpts reveal the on-going challenges that teachers face when they work together to improve their practices and deepen their understandings of content and students.  There is no single solution to the difficulties the teachers faced in these scenarios.  Use the scenarios as an opportunity to reflect upon how your own learning community deals with disagreements and conflicts, and how you can use them as occasions to learn.

After reading the scenarios, consider the following questions with your colleagues:

  1. What conflicts or disagreements arise in the discussion?
  2. What conflicts or disagreements may be present but are not explicitly stated?
  3. How do the teachers deal with the conflicts?
  4. How do you think the teachers’ interactions affect their learning? What do you think they are learning about teaching, content and/or students?  What do you think they are learning about their group members and what it means to create a learning community?
  5. How could the teachers in this community deal with the conflicts in ways that could generate new insights, new ways of thinking and/or new practices?