Many managers spend a lot of money compiling files filled with paper work on how to do the work. However, when a group of engineers was surveyed, the engineers reported that they would 5 times more ask a colleague when they do not know how to do their work than visiting filing cabinets. This finding was confirmed in several South African educational settings.
In fact, 57% of the mathematics teachers of a secondary school in Gauteng reported that they relied on their colleagues to work effectively. When the staff of a secondary school in Gauteng was surveyed, 67% of the teachers indicated that they would rather ask a colleague when they do not know how to do their work. In this regard, 65% of the students enrolled for a module at an start for open and distance education indicated that they rely on their relationships with their colleagues to learn to do their work effectively. My research shows that teachers rely on their personal relationships with colleagues to get access to information, knowledge, advice, support, guidance, ability and concrete resources in their working environments, therefore I have coined such a set of relationships as the personal development networks of teachers.
Unfortunately school managers do not always give enough time for creating sustainable personal development networks. The quality of teachers’ work depends on their personal development networks, therefore teachers need to be provided with enough opportunities to create relationships with their colleagues. Meanwhile, teachers are using a variety of networking interfaces to take their relationships online.