16 October 2020

Post date: Oct 15, 2020 11:30:58 PM

"It's a we thing!"

Over the break, I rediscovered this article in a SET/Teaching/Learning research magazine. The initial blurb in this reading caught my attention:

"Increasingly teachers are expected to collaborate because of recognised learning gains for diverse students and a variety of professional benefits. Policy directives globally and in New Zealand support collaborative teaching in flexible learning environments." The article (Keehan and Forbes) went on to suggest the keys to successful collaborative teaching, so I thought it very timely as we look to plan for 2021 to get inside this work again.

Some of the key messages I took:

    • When teachers share responsibility for student learning, students have improved access to their diverse strengths

    • Hargreaves 30 plus year study on collaboration in school concludes that student learning improves when teachers circulate their knowledge and take more risks with creative teaching, along with collective responsibility for all students' success

    • More collaborative schools tend to have higher student achievement.... and partnerships with parents

    • Removing isolation boosts morale for teachers

    • Synergy occurs when teachers working together can create a learning environment that a solo teacher cannot generate

    • Teachers expect to develop and help others to develop

    • Differences can be complementary and lead to balance

...and more.

All of this made sense to me... tick, tick, tick. How fortunate we are at Worser Bay to have no other option but to work extremely collaboratively in a school that was designed just for that. It isn't lip service. It's not straightforward either.

Teachers can't hide away or take 'control'. Everything is communicated, discussed, shared, debated, critiqued. There isn't room for much autonomy. It's like other workplaces - adults need to work with adults, listen to adults, communicate with adults, negotiate with and so on.... This isn't always the case in schools, so our teachers require a particular mindset and toolbox of skills.

For this to work really well, our teachers need to talk openly work together on problems, take turns leading, share and help, follow through, be kind and forgiving, share problems and successes, make time to communicate.... Whilst celebrated in many work environments, these attributes are painted in neon in a collaborative teaching philosophy based school.

So, my thoughts right now as we rev straight back into things is for the staff as a whole, all that they do.... and especially this week, the teachers, who keep so diligently working on honing their practice so that your/our children/yourselves may reap the rewards of collaborative teaching.