Saturday, 22 October 2016

Collaborative Teachers

This year I have been collaborating with Jemma, the teacher next door. I have planned and taught collaboratively with two other teachers at a previous school. You can read my blog from then entitled: Collaborative Teaching; my research, experiences and reflections

Jemma and I begun at the end of term 4, 2015 planning a shared topic on Vikings for 2016. We enjoyed working together and decided to continue to work together for the rest of the year. We met once a week spending lunchtime and after school for the rest of the year. I felt confident that we both had the same work ethic, but had separate strengths from which both would benefit and grow.

Jemma based her 2016 Teacher Inquiry on our collaboration and how if affected her students learning. With permission I have included a few of her reflections below that show how she felt about our collaboration.
Reflection: I am feeling totally inspired by today’s meeting with SHAUN. It is clear just from one meeting that we have a common agenda this year. I am exciting to take all my planning from paper to online, where it can be shared and worked on at any time.

Reflection: I cannot believe I have been planning on paper for so long. All the hyperlinks make so much sense. I feel a sense of relief knowing that I can’t loose anything and that it is all one click away. The benefits of working collaboratively are already clear. I am learning how to use ICT to make my planning more efficient and better organised. SHAUN has been amazing at showing me how to use Wiki and I think my structured thinking around planning has helped us to organise our term ahead.

Reflection: I couldn't believe how quickly we managed to get all the resources we needed for our students organised. When I do this task on my own I can spend a whole day hunting around. It literally took ¼ of the time.

Reflection: I have admired SHAUN and his involvement in the online teaching community. Taking inspiration from him I discovered Chapter Chat this year an online community that read the same book to their students all throughout New Zealand and then once a week answer questions and share tasks on Twitter. This community has changed the way in which SHAUN and I do shared book and has really showcased how learning can be done online to our students and to ourselves.Reflection: We also had a moment in term 2 when we were planning and unfortunately SHAUN was unwell, but because our “online community” was so well established we were able to continue planning for term 3 without being face to face. We took full advantage of google and were communicating with one another via messages as we planned. It was a real ah ha moment in the way in which technology can give teachers many advantages.

Student Voice 

“I think it is cool because it is like having Two teacher” 

“Because we get to work with different people other than our class”
“Because I don't like how noisy they are and I don't know them that well”


Observer: Lynne                      Date:22.09.16
Relevant goals: To get feedback on our collaborative planning practise
Focus students: Reflection on student needs and how we will cater for this.
Teaching focus: LTP, weekly planning and assessment

Jemma and SHAUN have been working collaboratively for this year as a way of trying to manage large classes and increasing workloads of planning, assessment, evaluation and digital learning. They were concerned that the time they were spending planning and organising on their own single cell classes was having an adverse effect on their actual teaching time and therefore wondered if ‘sharing the load’ through collaboration would enable them to work smarter whilst also giving their students the teacher time they need.

I have enjoyed watching the growth in their collaborative effort. They interact well and constantly share ideas. They meet regularly to plan and review their lessons. Through working together and sharing they have become more aware of the strengths they have as teachers and this has had positive spin-offs for their classes. For example; the Te Reo programme is running very well, the ICT progression in the students is noticeable and the coverage of the future focus themes is well developed.

This collaborative approach has been discussed with me on a regular basis and as a result has led to more collaboration between Sonja and myself.

Working with Jemma has improved my confidence in my planning, increased my lesson engagement, deepen the focus and range of learning for students, gave me a greater understanding of my students needs and the curriculum, lowered stress because two heads and four hands are better than . . .  However know we had such good success for ourselves and our students because we have a good relationship, we communicate openly, we respect each other and we know that we both put in equal effort.