The most important in collaboration is, to me, being patient.


According to a MacBookPro’s dictionary :), here it is a definition of ‘patient’ as an adjective:

able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Image of people collaboratingLast Thursday in our community-based research (CBR) class, we reviewed a recruitment email that needed to be sent to our research subjects.  At one point I thought, let’s just use this version and move forward.  But students were starting to offer inputs share discomfort with the original email version.  Feeling the energy from students in improving the email, I then asked, “do you want to split and work in two smaller groups so that we can work on two different tasks, or do you want to stay in a bigger group and work on this email together?”  Students anonymously indicated their desire to stay together, and I agree.  Consequently, I had to delay offering a training on how to create an encryption folder with a TrueCrypt software to students for the third or even fourth times, which was completely fine to me.

About five minutes later, one of the research team members suggested to me if it would be better to split into two smaller groups to to have more focus.  And I respectfully responded, at least that is how I thought I did, to this member, “no, this is what they think it works better, so let’s just work this way.”

My point is, the greatest challenge in a collaborative process is in fact a concept that people is very familiar yet easily overlooked; being patient.  I do not mean that people are intentionally impatient.  Rather, they are too focus on an end product (email recruitment) that they disregard the importance of a process of developing the end product.

Further, it is also important that this whole process of collaboration is about empowering participants (in this case students or learners), where I try to internalize the concept of popular education in the process.  Popular education is about empowering learners so that the value of education is not merely about an end product or knowledge, but also the social relationship developed among learners, and between learners and a facilitator (or a teacher).

Eventually, after spending 50 minutes, from what I thought it would take no more than 15 minutes, we have another email version that the group agreed.  We sent that email to about 90 potential focus group participants, we received one positive response in participating so far, and will find out more soon.

Have a great weekend, everyone.