The practice of collaboration

Anecdotally at least, teachers are likely to learn when they interact with other teachers.  The process of mentoring, coaching and feedback are powerful strategies for empowering and enabling teachers.

Never before have we needed more intellectual rigour as our schools respond to the challenges of a national curriculum, 21st century pedagogies and a mercurial education agenda. This is not helped at all by a distinct policy gap from all forms of state and federal governments. Policy devoid of an understanding of the nature of teaching will always fail, as the past so eloquently attests.

This rigour is enhanced by the practice of collaboration – teachers providing each other with mutual support, encouragement and reflective dialogue to continually improve the quality of learning and teaching. This has to be the core of  education policy initiatives.

When I think of teacher collaboration, I am reminded of Jim Collins’ flywheel principle.  As more teachers engage in collaboration, we see greater ownership of the learning agenda.  It is the power of the group to work together to identify the needs of the community, set and evaluate its own goals and resource accordingly.

One of our primary teachers talks here about the practice of collaboration and teacher-learning within an agile learning space.

4 thoughts on “The practice of collaboration

  1. Responding to your post itself: yes, people work better collaborating, but that’s a given. However, making this the basis of education policies is not a solution to the state of teaching. Neither will this create an immediate fix, there are a variety of other problems that plague teachers and this is only aspect of the whole.

    When together, we are given access to a greater pool of information and resources, but this is in no way a method of fixing the problem that exists. Simply put, it is the individual’s ability to adapt to their students’ styles of teachings that is needed. Flexibility. Information is worth little without a proper medium to express it.

    1. Beatrice, it’s not simply the individual’s ability to adapt to students’ needs – it’s seeing the teacher as an integral part of a learning community. Fullan talks about this in Motion Leadership. Yes, building the capacity of teachers is about increasing the individual’s knowledge, skills and disposition but it takes place collectively and collaboratively.

  2. Greg, I read your post with great interest. My sons attend St Monicas Nth Parra and I am constantly amazed at how the education they receive now is so different to my days some 40+ years ago. I have been working in IT for more than 25 years and the current trends you are discussing here (collaboration and agile) are also the cornerstone of many multinational and small businesses in the current business world. The fact that our children are going “with the grain” in this respect in our local schools is most encouraging. Collaboration is the key to successfully utilising the miriad of information sources which willbe available to our children (and ourselves) in the current and future world. Being able to work together with their peers, teachers, parents and any other contacts nt he local, regional, country or world communities via classroom activities can only strengthen and enhance our children;s learning experiences and outcomes. Not to mention prepare them with the valuable skills in collaboration and critical assessment of information that will become KEY in the future lives. The internet provides so much information to our world but through collborating we can help each other along the information superhighway (and old term I know, but I think it is still relevant, especially as we keep adding more “lanes” e.g. social networking, UTUBE, Blogging, Forums, Wiki’s etc).
    Thanks for your insightful messages and videos on UTUBE and look forward to more collaboraion in the future.

    1. Neil, you often hear the reasons why we shouldn’t change schooling despite the impact technology has on our working and personal lives. It’s not often that we hear the voices of those who understand the need for change and are prepared to support innovation at school level. The only way we can make schooling relevant for today’s learners is to work in collaboration with our parents, teachers, parishes, community, experts and industry. Thanks for your support.

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