“According to Relational Cultural Theory (RCT), individuals grow through their connections with others. That is, we become more relationally competent as we represent ourselves authentically in our relationships and as we negotiate the relational ruptures we experience.” Duffey, 2008,p. 50
We do not learn in isolation. Some of the teacher professional learning we undertake requires us to work alone – to read, write, research, reflect and think. But it is how we apply the reading, how discuss our ideas with others, how we share our research and insights face to face or online with our Professional Learning Network ,that captures the real learning.
As educators we will only grow and develop in our knowledge and skills when we connect with others. It is common sense isn’t it? We were made to relate, interact, involve ourselves with others. Human connection, validation and affirmation is a real need. If we are to build our leadership capacity and develop our teaching and learning we need to be intentional about our networks, the colleagues we share with, the role models and mentors we are drawn to.
So, why then do so many educators work behind closed doors? As I compile a list of potential candidates for my research interviews I do wonder how many of them know each other. Is there a professional or personal connection? What prevents these women leaders in education from connecting, reaching out to one another, ‘representing (them)selves authentically’?