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“Partnering” by Jean Oelwang

Tangible lessons from 65+ of the world's most remarkable partnerships.


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December 6, 2023

Social Studies x Partnering

In September, Social Studies School Service featured Partnering as their book club read, as well as the subject of a book review. We are grateful to have received the thoughtful gaze of this organization working to publish and distribute high-quality educational materials to educators across the United States.

The discussion amongst educators and educational leaders centered on the partnerships of the Carters, “ice cream mavens” Ben & Jerry, and the scientists, economists, and politicians that helped discover and repair the ozone hole.

The Ecosystem of Virtues and Magnetic Moments were highlighted as two degrees of most relevance in the education sphere today. The skills of listening and good communication were major takeaways, especially the act of listening to their students most in need.

Partnering in education is just as important as partnering in business, government, and in our personal lives, and this concept sparked interesting questions, such as:

How can we partner to ensure that teachers have the tools, resources, and strategies to be successful in their classrooms?

How can we partner together with a greater purpose of putting students first and asking what policies and practices we can implement to help our most needy students?

How can we partner within departments and subjects to support each other and be the best educators we can be?

We know how important Magnetic Moments can be for connecting students with students, students with educators, and educators with each other or fellow education professionals in administration or professional learning. Chief Learning Officer Aaron Willis of Social Studies School Service understands this, too. Reflecting on Jean’s quote of Plato—”you learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”—Aaron writes: “We can create opportunities for these special moments of connection by providing time for interactions outside of the rigor of formal meetings and boardroom presentations.”

Aaron also reflects on some of the lessons of Degree 5 – Celebrate Friction:

Partnering doesn’t shy away from the complexities of these relationships, and it is not always easy to maintain the virtues. The book offers practical advice on navigating disagreements, emphasizing the need for positive amnesia, and the power of asking, “What if the other person is right?” 

Deeper connections—in and out of the classroom—can be forged by reading Partnering as well as downloading our Explorer Curriculum (free and printable in our resource library). We hope that, like Aaron and the Social Studies community, more educators can take away lessons from the wisdom of our book partners and forge strong teams and great partnerships that improve the learning and the lives of their students.

Thank you to the Social Studies School Service community and Chief Learning Officer Aaron Willis for sparking a discussion around Partnering!

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