Collaboration LIB 601 Learning and Libraries Fall 2008
noun [C or U] when two or more people work together to create or achieve the same thing: The two playwrights worked in close collaboration (with each other) on the script. The new airport is a collaboration between two of the best architects in the country.
adjective [before noun] involving two or more people working together for a special purpose: The presentation was a collaborative effort by all the children in the class. (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary )
Use in education?
A relationship between individuals or organizations that enables the participants to accomplish goals more successfully than they could have separately. Educators are finding that they must collaborate with others to deal with increasingly complex issues. For example, schools and school systems often form partnerships with local businesses or social service agencies.
A Lexicon of Learning : What Educators Mean When They Say... C
What is teacher collaboration?
When teachers say that they collaborate, they may mean many different things. Sometimes they may be referring to working together in a classroom to instruct a group of students that includes students with disabilities. At other times they may be describing meetings they attend to discuss students who are transferring to the school. They may also be reporting on the efforts of the school’s staff development committee or any other situation in which they work closely with other teachers.
A core assumption
. . . a professional partnership is exponentially more effective and more satisfying than the sum of its parts.
Collaboration by William Powell, ch. 5 of Count Me In - Developing Inclusive International Schools , Overseas Schools Advisory Council, Department of State
Collaboration is voluntary
Collaboration requires parity among participants
Collaboration is based on mutual goals
Collaboration depends on shared responsibility for participation and decision making
Individuals who collaborate share their resources
Individuals who collaborate share accountability for outcomes.
Friend, M. & Cook, L. (1992). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals . White Plains, N.Y.: Longmans, cited by Powell in Collaboration
Benefits of collaboration
Collaboration affords general educators, special educators, and support personnel opportunity to establish rewarding and long lasting social and professional relationships.
Collaboration fosters a sense of shared responsibility for educating heterogeneous groups of students
A range of responsibilities and demands can be addressed more appropriately by collaborative or team approaches than by individual, isolated efforts.
Assessing Professional Collaboration in Schools: Knowing What Works
Forms of collaboration
For example, regular and special education teachers may work collaboratively to meet the needs of students with disabilities who spend a portion of the day in regular education settings. Middle school teachers may follow a team model in which they collaborate to improve instruction. School administrators at any level may establish teams of teachers to “problem solve about students experiencing difficulty, to establish and discuss academic standards, and to create positive working relationships with parents” . . . Moreover, collaboration can occur when teachers talk often about their professional work (e.g., during planning periods).
A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of Teacher Collaboration for School Improvement and Student Achievement in Public Elementary Schools
Is it worth it?
Positive outcomes documented:
Improved knowledge base
not only is collaboration good for teachers-quite possibly by fostering teacher learning-but it is also positively related to student achievement
A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation
Information Power :
Committed to the process of collaboration, the library media specialist works closely with individual teachers in the critical areas of designing authentic learning tasks and assessments and integrating the information and communication abilities required to meet subject matter standards.
Roles and Responsibilities of the School Library Media Specialist