Collaboration

This week, and I would say the undercurrent of all weeks is about collaboration. I liked how in two of the readings this week they defined the different levels of collaboration. I think until this point I hadn’t really stopped to think about what this buzzword really means. It isn’t just about using library space, and it isn’t just about using the library media specialist as an instructor. Rather, it is suppose to be about inclusion of both teacher, and teacher-librarian when creating lessons. It is about focusing on each others strengths to help create a dynamite learning experience for students.

I think collaboration/co-teaching also opens up the possibility of trying new things, or taking risks. Especially once you have a fairly stable working relationship, I think it would help you lean on each other at various parts when you are trying a new technique. The readings didn’t discuss this much, but it is something I’m increasingly becoming interested in. We are starting to see a trend to have students collaborate together, and learn from failures. So, how do we shape environments where we can show how to learn from failures? Can collaborative teaching, and taking risks, help our students understand? Or is the potential of them not gaining any knowledge because of an error on the instructors part too big of a risk?

These readings made me think about a class I took during undergrad on feminist theory that was co-taught. We had an English professor and a Political Science professor, both would be there for class. Sometimes they would switch off during class, or sometimes one would lead the class discussion for that day, while the other might chime in with clarifying questions to either students or the other professor. At first it was something to get use to. But within a couple of class sessions, I really became to enjoy it. They pulled on each others’ strengths, and I feel that I not only learned a wide array of materials, but also deep meanings. I would love to be able to be apart of something like this.

But how to do it? The question on everyone’s mind! I think we have to eventually just go for it.  Make your presence known, and let people know what you do, can do, like to do, and want to do. I think there is a part of just building friendships.

I enjoyed the Motown analogy of how collaboration works. It’s had me singing “One Fine Day” by the Chiffons for a good two days now.

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3 thoughts on “Collaboration

  1. nicolesa602 says:

    ” I think until this point I hadn’t really stopped to think about what this buzzword really means”

    This, so much this. Buzzwords are dangerous for this very reason. You can throw them out at a meeting or in an article, and everyone nods their head and goes, “yes, yes, we should definitely have that.” And then someone asks, “what does this actually mean?” (sometimes with more expletives), and everyone goes silent. It requires a more critical approach to the vocabulary you’re using, but it’s key if you ever want to move from the buzzword to an actual program or change.

  2. leafinglight says:

    Your second paragraph about taking risks really struck a chord with me. I think it’s important to be willing to take risks, but you’re right that it can be a real challenge. You lay out the big question: What is the “right” amount of risk? This is difficult, because I imagine that determining the appropriate amount of risk requires a fair amount of risk. Just as students feel the pressure to succeed and feel afraid to fail, I think teachers do too.

  3. skcram says:

    What a great question about using collaborative teaching failures to teach students. It requires students to think very critically about collaboration, and I can definitely see this working in a grad or maybe even undergrad class, but like you, I would also worry about the risk. I think asking students to critique the teacher puts a lot of power in the kids’ hands, and they would have to be mature enough to handle that power responsibility. I also think the teacher would need to model an effective critique approach, not only to show kids how to do it, but also to show that it’s okay to say that something the teacher did was not effective.

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