Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Together We Can

I have been thinking about how to explain the power of collaboration from a teaching/learning perspective. I hope I can convey my most passionate feelings about it! I am ecstatic that the "bigwigs" in education are now looking at research about the benefits (to teachers, students and parents) when rich collaboration between educational professionals takes place. Collaboration is NOT just planning together, it really isn't. I always thought that when you plan with a team of teachers, you have similar goals and expectations that it was true and meaningful collaboration but really that is PLANNING. The dictionary says collaboration is "the act of working together on a joint project". Hum... working together is a greater aspiration than planning because it involves the work (mentally, creatively, physically and sometimes spiritually) done together. I don't think I ever really got that before this school year. I always said I collaborated when I sent copies for other people. Um...that is just sending copies, not digging deeply into "How could we do this better, more successfully, more creatively and in a more meaningful way???". Before you can collaborate, you have to self-reflect...deeply and critically. Collaboration is an amazing thing when it is two or more people digging deeply into their thoughts, explaining their goals and why the goals are important. It is being willing to concede when another's idea is better than yours. It is offering all you have for the common goal(s) set. It is planning, prepping and executing the plan together completely. It can be time consuming and involves personal sacrifice. I now understand what collaboration is and I will never want to teach any other way. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be part of a SMART COMMUNITY where I feel like a co-teacher who is valued, respected and appreciated. Collaboration is giving as much as you are given. Collaboration is my newest passion!


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