3CSN’s Design Principles for Powerful Professional Learning: Building Relationships

Learners need to feel welcome and trust the environment when engaging in new material, reframing perspectives, and re-igniting their passion and commitment to their work. This is true for all learners: students in classrooms, teachers trying out new approaches, and colleagues redesigning their campuses. Co-creating learning communities through relationship building is at the heart of how 3CSN “does business”. Through attending 3CSN sessions, facilitators and participants connect and practice relationship-building approaches to equitable learning and community cultivation.

  1. Community agreements for collegial engagement are transparently co-created.

3CSN events begin with an invitation to co-create the community agreements, or “norms” that will guide our shared learning. This step is critical for reducing the unspoken hierarchies and power dynamics that challenge transformational work to equitize our System. Co-creation of community agreements is, in itself, a stated commitment to the learning community. Modeling and engaging in this activity invites participants to utilize this approach in their classrooms and campus meetings to transform “working groups” into “communities of practice” committed to one another and the group as a whole.

  1. Participants’ voices are privileged through active engagement and protocols designed to encourage equitable participation.

Learning is dialogical with 3CSN. Facilitators utilize and model discussion protocols, active learning approaches, and reflection activities that allow all participants to engage as listeners and speakers, learning from one another through sharing knowledge and experiences, but also through practicing mindful listening. By intentionally creating and valuing cross-role dialogues, 3CSN models how to redefine the notions of “teacher” and “student” and deeply learn through the relationships we cultivate.

  1. All participants are welcome at whatever level of engagement feels most useful to them.

3CSN believes in meeting learners where they are. Because 3CSN coordinators work within our community college system as faculty, classified professionals, and administrators, we are learners too and we understand that learners need choice and flexibility to continue to engage and persist over time. 3CSN offers brief, online sessions participants can attend with a single click and multi-part sessions and courses with optional credit for learners ready to engage in a more robust learning community. With deep dives to build knowledge like Equity 101 and Online Design Labs and tributaries to support and sustain like Wayfinding learn and practice sessions, all learners are welcome and can find community and support that fits their needs.

  1. Dialogues across campuses and roles are an integral part of the community.

In this unprecedented time of learning and pivot, we are seeing the power of our network as participants teach one another, learn from each other, and create a supported online community. As our learner identities progress and evolve, as we face and embrace new challenges and new opportunities in pursuit of student success and equity, the 3CSN network is the learning and support community practitioners can always come home to.