What Is Teacher Collaboration?

For the purposes of this project I want to define what I mean by teacher collaboration. Also, for this information to be most useful to my community I’m using our K-8 departmentalized model.

To me teacher collaboration is most effective when time is given to the following:

1. Preparation

Co-planning, either in person or through the use of technology (wikis, forums, etc..), allows teachers to improve their competency and effectiveness in the execution of their lesson (Egodawatte, McDougall, and Stoilescu 2011).

2. Evaluation

Allowing one of your colleagues to come in and evaluate you may not be easy for all, however, allowing this process to take place is critical for professional growth. The person being evaluated gets helpful feedback on their teaching practices while the evaluator gets to watch a lesson that they too can most likely get valuable techniques from.

For teachers being observed and receiving feedback from peers is critical for improving teaching practice  (Darling-Hammond 2014). Peer observation allows the reviewer and reviewee to be exposed to different styles and techniques of teaching (Golparian, Chan, Cassidy 2015).

Bill Gates suggests we record ourselves teaching and use this video to help us reflect on our teaching practices and use to show how to effectively teach a specific lesson.

3. Cross Curricular Content

Expanding one lesson from a subject into another not only allows students to further develop their understanding of that content but it also shows how different topics often overlap and the reason why a well-rounded education is so important. Additionally, collaborating with another teacher for a cross curricular project may further your understanding of the other’s teacher subject and allow you to see how another teacher executes a lesson on this topic.

4. Meetings

Taking the time to meet to discuss student progress and curriculum goals will give all teachers a big picture view of where everyone’s resources are being allocated the most and where they may be ineffective.