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Collaborative Practice - mixing up the way we do things

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Started by Kim Proffit 06 Oct 2015 1:37pm () Replies (4)


I am a team leader with 7 New Entrant / Year One classes currently working within 2 ILE's.  This will be our third term in and now that the dust has settled,  we are quite keen as a team to carry out an inquiry into what effective collaborative practice looks like and experiment a bit for Term 4.  We work closely together now,  in that our classes are all mixed together and streamed for Literacy and Numeracy.  We teach in 5 week blocks so after a term and a half we have worked with each child in the ILE in Reading, Writing and Maths. Needless to say we have to collaborate with planning & are in constant communication to keep track of all the students etc.  I guess most of what we do is parallel teaching though.  I am looking for any suggestions of readings / resources / academia that my team can do a bit of research from first, before planning and experimenting with our practice to really make the most of the spaces and learning opportunities for the students.

Thanks :-)


  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 10 Oct 2015 2:51pm ()

    Hi Kim

    Villa suggests these strategies where as with the help of Friend and Cook we created these seven strategies which I am subsequently refining down to:

    •Teaching and Observing  
    •Guided teaching and Coaching   (Coaching from Nature of Learning- experiential learning)
    •Station Teaching  
    •Targeted Teaching  
    •Team Teaching
    My suggestion is to plan your week explicitly indicating when each strategy will be used and why- what do you hope to achieve by using 'teaching and observing' for the 10 mins of your literacy lesson?
    So just like whenever you learn a new strategy in teaching be explicit, plan, discuss, reflect, refine. Perhaps focus on one strategy a week for 5 weeks? (Let me know if you would like more infer on how these strategies are implemented)
    The Nature of Learning is a fantastic read to challenge your thinking especially the principles of learning and emotions and motivation for learning.
    One question we should continually ask ourselves in a collaborative teaching environment is "What can we do in this environment that we could not do with individual teachers in individual classrooms?" 
    I get a sense you are  reflecting that if all we are doing is regrouping and streaming how different is that from what we could do before (except we are now in one space)?
    I don't have the links for you but there are some really great challenges to our NZ way of ability grouping for all children in reading writing and maths and the stigma that is associated with this- worth hunting down that literature.
    The fact that you are doing 5 week blocks and then changing roles can be really beneficial for children as they get multiple perspectives on the curriculum, it also ensures all teachers sense the importance of each 5 week block and the need to see progress for children. It can also stop the stigma of "Mrs ____ always has the clever kids!" Additionally it allows =your children to build meaningful relationships with a range of teachers (just like they did at pre-school!)
    I will be interested to see if others offer research about specific literature related to collaborative teaching as my investigations have revealed a lack of literature to support collaborative teachers in their collaborative roles. I suppose it is best to find any research about quality teaching and learning (writing, questioning, feedback etc) and then ask how we can use this in a collaborative way.
    Hope this helps
  • Rachel O'Connell (View all users posts) 12 Oct 2015 10:01pm ()

    Thanks so much for sharing Neil.  This is great, especially for those of us beginning our 'team teaching' (collaborative teaching....) journey.  

  • Cassandra Heilbrunn (View all users posts) 15 Nov 2015 4:24pm ()

    Hi, I have just joined this site and group recently and have been reading discussions about collaborative teaching and I'm finding this one in particular very interesting. Next year I will be teaching in this situation with 3 classes of Year 3/4. I haven't worked in a traditional collaborative teaching environment but my syndicate this year does work together for many subjects and we stream for reading and numeracy. Probably more parallel teaching. Next year however we would like to stream and collaborate on all levels. Do you have any suggestions as to how we could best begin this? Also we don't have an open learning space we have three classrooms that have connecting doors, do you think this could effect the quality of collaboration? (separate rooms rather then one space).

    Thank you. Casey


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