March 9, 2021

A Day in the Life of Ben: Storing and developing tacit knowledge for more effective teamwork and collaboration

A Day in the Life of Ben: Storing and developing tacit knowledge for more effective teamwork and collaboration

Teachers and other educational practitioners lay the foundations for a life of critical thinking and learning. Despite such an influential role and significant contribution to society, teachers are seen to be overworked, with the demands of their professional duties permeating their personal life. 


Leading a recent study, Dr Amanda Heffernan, Lecturer in Leadership in Monash University’s Faculty of Education, suggests “the administrative burden on teachers needs to decrease significantly so they can spend more time in the classroom with students, and less time feeling stressed and overwhelmed.” 


Whether you are a teacher or a professional within another industry, discover how you can use myhaventime to store your best insights, whilst making efficiencies at work to create time and space for personal development and interests. 


This article explores how one teacher, Ben, uses myhaventime to store and organise the invaluable tacit knowledge amassed on the job, for collaboration with colleagues, to streamline his workflow, and to prioritise his own interests and passions outside of work. 

Illustration of a teacher who balances a busy workload with personal interests
Introducing Ben, full-time teacher with a love of martial arts and outdoor adventures.

Storing and leveraging tacit knowledge


Ben arrives at school at 7:15 sharp, though he is not required at his first meeting until just before nine. He has found this hour and a half of productive, uninterrupted time essential to sort through emails and complete any administrative work before the staff and student interruptions begin. 


He knows the rest of the day will be punctuated by meetings, lessons, and interaction with colleagues and students. 


Interaction is a key theme in Ben’s role. Everyday he converses with colleagues, debates ideas, challenges his students and supports those who may be struggling. He simultaneously imparts knowledge and absorbs from those around him. 


As such, Ben accumulates tacit knowledge every day. 


As defined in HBR, “Unstructured (tacit) knowledge involves deep, almost intuitive understanding that is hard to articulate; it's generally rooted in great expertise.”


Whether it’s his teaching methodologies, techniques for productivity, emotional intelligence or ability to provide support - it is Ben’s tacit knowledge that distinguishes him from his colleagues and affects his aptitude as a teacher. This is his IP - and it should be carefully stored, built upon and leveraged throughout his professional life. 


Over time we all accrue tacit knowledge that can enrich our personal and professional development, and yet our most insightful thoughts and learnings are often forgotten amidst the busyness of everyday life.  

myhaventime is a simple platform for knowledge management, where our most important insights and artifacts are consolidated into one centralised location - never to be lost or forgotten. 


In Ben’s instance, by creating rooms within myhaventime (e.g. a room for ‘Year 12 History: lesson resources’ and a room for ‘Supporting diverse learners’), he can document the insights and important information that comes to him throughout the day; overtime building upon ideas and developing cognisance and depth within the different facets of his job. 


Again referring to HBR, “...your future success depends on developing a new kind of expertise: the ability to leverage your proprietary knowledge strategically and to make useful connections between seemingly unrelated knowledge assets or tap fallow, undeveloped knowledge.”


Tacit knowledge is an underused resource. Whether you are a teacher or work in another industry entirely, don’t risk forgetting the important insights that provide competitive advantage, aptitude and integrity in your role. 

myhaven can be used for knowledge management and professional development
Through his experience as a teacher, Ben has developed strong emotional intelligence to support his colleagues and students. He uses myhaventime as a place to store and grow upon this tacit knowledge.

Efficient collaboration with colleagues 


During a mid-morning meeting with his teaching colleagues, Ben is asked by the head of his department to share resources from the humanities class he taught the year prior. As Ben has been promoted to another department there is a new colleague resuming the position and a handover is required. 


Just as they are leaving the meeting, another teacher asks Ben for his advice on lesson planning in accordance with curriculum requirements. They schedule to meet and discuss in person the following morning. 


In both of these instances, Ben can use myhaventime to store lesson material, models and other resources in one place. That way, each time a peer requests information, this eliminates the lengthy search through physical filing, hard drives, the workplace intranet and email correspondence to find the material he needs. 


By setting up his rooms with team functionality, it allows multiple users to access and contribute to the content within. That way if a colleague has anything to add, or any questions about his material, they too can add to the room. 


Moving peer-to-peer communication into one, consolidated platform, means that Ben can still collaborate with colleagues whilst lessening the need for face-to-face communication which - as a thought leader in the workplace - consumes much of his day. Together, they can efficiently share information and grow ideas. 


Adapting to new realities: tools for remote collaboration and teamwork


The past few months have added a layer of complexity for Ben, as he and his colleagues have transitioned some or all of their classes and student communication online. 


For Ben, working from home provides some respite from the regular interruptions that slow his day. However, adapting to teaching online and maintaining student engagement has proven difficult with evidence of waning attendance, disengagement and communication difficulties. 


In order to provide interesting and relevant resources to his students, he creates a team room for each class, allowing all students to access additional materials or contribute their own. For example, students in his Geography class have all uploaded their proposals for a sustainable redevelopment of an unused public space into their team room. Ben and other students can publicly comment on each proposal, provide constructive feedback or link to other works or resources they might find useful. 


This is just one way Ben can use myhaventime to cultivate engagement, promote collaboration and share resources when in-person teaching is not possible.


Prioritising personal growth and professional development


As today is spent on campus, the rest of Ben’s afternoon includes moving from class to class, an encounter with a struggling student, lunch spent working through homework, a brief chat with a colleague, responding to emails, and thwarting requests from administration to stay back after work to manage ‘gate duty’ (Ben is often ready to help, but he really needs a few hours this evening to get on top of lesson planning and marking). 


The reality of Ben’s role is one of long-hours and work outside the classroom. The Monash University study mentioned earlier indicates “71 per cent of Australia’s teachers feel underappreciated in their profession, and are burdened by administrative tasks outside classroom hours that take up precious family time.”


The status-quo of demanding schedules and long hours means teachers, like Ben, often have little time or emotional capacity left at the end of the day to pursue or prioritise their own interests or personal growth. 


In addition to the time created as a result of streamlining communication with colleagues and structured file management, myhaventime enables teachers and others with busy schedules to prioritise their personal development, lifelong learning and passions, by using the virtual learning coach


myhaventime's in-built virtual learning coach can be activated to remind Ben to contribute to his personal rooms on a daily or weekly basis. Even with a busy schedule, a subtle reminder to document insights from the day just been, or a nudge to contribute to a personal room will make self-directed learning a habitual part of Ben’s life. 


So, that evening after lesson planning, marking and a slapdash dinner, Ben finally has a moment of quiet. 


Digital tools for personal growth and creativity
Activating the virtual learning coach will prompt Ben to invest time in his own passions and interests, no matter how busy life gets.


He opens myhaventime and locates his ‘outdoor adventures’ room. Inspired by today’s geography lesson, he adds a topographic map — a ‘gem’ (aka an important piece of information) — for Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage in northern Spain. He makes note of Biduedo to Samos, a section of the trail that is of particular interest to Ben for its landscape and centuries-old monastery. 


His mind is awash with ideas for a trip to Spain next school holidays, but for now exhaustion overcomes him. Ben makes sure the virtual learning coach is activated to remind him to contribute to the ‘outdoor adventures’ room over the coming weeks. He wants to explore more within the region, collate tips from friends who have been there (perhaps through a team room?) and make this trip a reality. 


He calls it a night. 


Whilst burdensome schedules are not just unique to teachers, the heightened requirement for interaction with colleagues and students throughout the day requires considerable emotional resilience and endurance. 


myhaventime provides a platform to store invaluable tacit knowledge, to house teaching resources and to streamline communication with peers — thus creating space within the busy workday for personal pursuits. 


Are you a teacher who has experienced this scenario first hand? Maybe you work in another industry and are subject to similar demands of interpersonal communication? Do you spend a considerable amount of time relaying information to peers? Would you like to prioritise your passions and personal growth? 


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