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Respect-and-Trust List

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Two common forms of professional learning are professional learning communities (PLCs) and communities of practices (CoPs). Both PLCs and CoPs are groups of professionals who regularly come together to discuss ideas, gain knowledge, and improve their practices. Groups that interact repsectfully also develop understanding and trust. "This essential practice can be tricky," says Teresa A. Byington, PdD, "especially if personalities or viewpoints clash."

Try this exercise from Lose the Lecture: Engaging Approaches to Early Childhood Professional Learning to start your group's process of building respect and trust. This activity could also be a useful exercise for the first meeting of a new PLC or CoP.


  • 1 sheet of lined paper per participant
  • pens or pencils

What to Do

  1. Prior to the meeting, copy the table below (Behaviors that Erode or Build Trust) onto a PowerPoint slide.
  2. During the meeting, pass out a sheet of paper (and a pen or pencil, if needed) to each participant.
  3. Ask participants to think about what they need to respect and trust someone. What do they expect that person to do and say? What behaviors might cause them to mistrust the person instead? Invite participants to write down their ideas and discuss them in small groups.
  4. Display the slide with the table below and have participants compare their answers to the ones in the table (which were created by a group of early childhood professionals who also performed this activity).
  5. Lead a whole-group discussion on what the participants found. Ask, "Do any of these behaviors surprise you? What other ideas could you add to your list?"

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