Friday, March 13, 2015

The Case for Effective Collaboration

By Vicki Bechard,
LFKS Secretary

Last week, at the suggestion of one of our board members, Learning Forward Kansas began posting daily pictures on social media that reflected the importance of collaboration.  We know through research and experience that, alone, we are not as effective as we are together.  What we learn from others strengthens our own understanding and provides us with perspectives we may not otherwise have considered.  We find the support and feedback we receive from collaborative colleagues to be relevant and useful rather than evaluative.  We struck a chord with many who “liked” and "favored" our posts and realized that these daily posts may have sparked more conversation about the value of collaboration.

Collaboration can be found in each one of the Standards of Professional Learning.  As a part of Learning Communities, collaborative groups help us develop collective responsibility and engage in continuous improvement through the discussions we have on our practice and student results.  Leadership is encouraged through collaborative efforts between building leaders and educators as well providing a setting to build the capacity for learning and leading.  The ideas and strategies we gain from our colleagues in a collaborative setting provide us with more Resources for our tool box.  In collaborative sessions, we examine both instructional and student Data to determine progress toward achieving desired learning goals, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of professional learning.  This information helps us plan for future learning and instruction.  Collaboration can be an important part of Learning Designs as we plan and engage in strategies to promote engagement and deep understanding of the intended outcomes.  Implementation requires that we practice the identified strategies and receive the necessary support and feedback that a collaborative group can provide.  Finally, as Outcomes are aligned between professional learning and student curriculum standards, the collaborative group can address gaps and overlaps and build coherence to meet performance standards.

How are you using collaboration to increase effectiveness?  How might you improve the use of collaboration to build trust, promote engagement and collective responsibility, offer more support and feedback, or build capacity?  As you evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of identified changes in your district or school, consider the role of collaboration as you currently use it, and how you might use it in the future, as a vehicle that helps transform teaching and learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment