TOPIC 5 – COLLABORATION
Watkins and Marsick, Sculpting the learning organisation
This is similar to ideas covered in ‘TL as leader’ course last year.
I still have a big problem with the idea that an individual’s learning should be tied to the future needs of the organisation, because so often the members have no say over what that future will be. The principal doesn’t listen to us, let alone the education minister! Why is their decision so much more important than mine? They don’t even work in schools!
All this stuff about organisational structure and change…I see the point of it, but how far away are we getting from our core business, ie. helping the kids learn? When can the TL go home? Are they going to pay us more for managing others when we’re not School leaders?
J Cibulka, S Coursey, M Nakayama, J Price and S Stewart; Schools as learning organisations
Organisation must move from learning how to learning why, and look at how they learn and develop – bring on the TL and IL!
Rejection of the ‘machine bureaucracy’? So it’s not just me! But to what extent is the bureaucracy willing to reject itself?
The long-term professional development the authors write about have been tried at my school, with dismal results because of the delivery of it. We need choice and ownership over what we do.
The list of what is needed to develop and sustain schools as professional learning communities make a lot of sense. Should the TL be in charge of PD in schools? Collaborate with teachers about what they want? Buidl teams for action research, say?
I really like: ‘enable learners to share responsibility for and control of their learning’. But how do we do this? How do we nuture a value inside them that does not exist at home, and for which there are no real consequences?
There is a tension between educating students and merely controlling and processing them, with confusing signals sent to schools and teachers about how they will be judged and held accountable. – YES. It chops and changes with governments and fashions. I’m all for progress, but we may need to sit down and think about some old fashioned values and what it is we really want kids to learn. Do we want to give them skills to survive and thrive, if that means they’re not very nice people, that they don’t know what it means to make sacrifices and go without? This is deciding our ‘moral purpose’, I suppose.
Transformational leadership – links in with ideas from last year, that leadership must permeate all levels of an organisation, with all members leading for real change to be enacted. I guess we try to teach students how to lead, too.
Is all of this about transferring what we try to do with our students, to what we do with ourselves?
Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations. Scan, 27(2), 19-28.
What an effort this article was to read!
Todd’s reports on the extent of collaboration in schools was no surprise.
The planning for collaboration helps build the relationship too – interesting.
Time the prominent difficulty – how surprising!
‘Being solution-orientated’ – does that mean ‘thinking positively’?
Change in work routine refreshing – I think it’s time we were reinvigorated a little! Good angle to approach staff from?
Issue of status of TL is interesting. How much is it about student outcomes and use of TL skills, and how much is about personal feelings of worth amongst the staff (like in any gathering of people, if we don’t feel like we fit in, then we get upset and want to leave)? Todd writes that there were some ‘concerns [raised] about what is the public voice of school librarians in a school’. Are TLs actually interested in student outcomes, or do they just want to keep their jobs?
Team teaching helped cover more content in a shorter period of time: is this because of more individual attention for students? Better behaviour management? Or just better instruction?
Enjoyment in the process transferred over to the students – I don’t actually remember the last time I ‘enjoyed’ preparing something with other staff; maybe in the musical? SNEAK was tough, but I actually enjoyed that. I think I am becoming a little bored teaching the same kind of stuff all the time.
Author of another reading (can’t remember which one) mentioned relationships being the basis for what we do; reiterated here
8 points of advice v useful.
Plan and be flexible!
Page, Developing the school resource centre program (in Foundations for effective school library media programs)
Shouldnt function as a reactor or start ‘where the teachers are at’ – must be your own trail blazer.
‘Fate of most programs is decided at the informal level’: corridor conversations play such a big role in teachers’ jobs.
Need support of teachers and administration.
- Assess the current situation
- Define the role and the program, responsibilities – for yourself and every one else.
- Establish guidelines – for flexible scheduling, cooperative planning and resources sharing.
- Communicate often and well
- Start small, think big
- Establish a school-based skills continuum. (Useful tips here about how to go about collaborative writing of this continuum with staff).
- Be accountable.
- Be high-profile. ‘Maintain visibility with report card inserts’ – great idea!
- Change the approach, not the tune; persist but be flexible
10. Take bigger steps: grade level planning. Making this a second step might be hard if teachers are already working in ‘unison’ across all classes in a grade.
11. Total school programming (for a theme day, week or month)
5 stages in the change process:
- Awareness – of role of TL and other staff. Someone needs to take responsibility.
- Understanding – make others understand, communicate well and often.
- Acceptance – get other ppl to accept you through demonstration and actually DOING your job
- Commitment – don’t give up, shows it must be valuable.
- Renewal – implementation is a process, no quick results, lifelong learning, etc. But sometimes you have to realise when you’ve been beaten, cut your losses and start again.
Montiel-Overall, A theoretical understanding of teacher and librarian collaboration
Collaboration invites creativity and innovation
If knowledge is constructed through interaction among members of society (Vygotsky), should ALL learning be collaborative? How do we get teenagers to stay on task?
World views and collab – need enough difference to generate innovation, but too much as to split the relationship. Some conflict necessary; backed up by Fullan.
Zone of proximal development – one of the few things I actually remember from my teaching degree (just about the extent of the educational psychology we covered), the ‘i+1’.
What is my world view? I agree with Vygotsky, but succumb to the pressure of having to cover outcomes. How do I do both?
Successful collaboration is marked by jointly creating something that is greater than what either could have created alone – that was in Fullan, too.
Are ‘mental model’ like envisaging, what gymnasts do to help them master new jumps, etc?
Networking – urk! Makes me think of slimy ladder-climbers who have plenty of acquaintances but no real friends. I understand what it’s for, but I don’t like it: used to ‘make informal social connections that may lead to joint efforts’. I don’t want to make friends with someone so I can use them! Making ‘professional connections’ would be a better way of putting it.
Coordination plays a part – how do you separate it from collaboration? Isnt collaboration just coordination of efforts and ideas, with a bit of useful conflict and evaluation thrown in?
‘Divide and conquer’ mode of attacking large projects is often used for time efficiency, but I can that it wasn’t successful when we moderated the Yr 9 document studies – looking at everything togterh helped us better achieve our aims.
‘Collaboration is shared thinking, shared planning and shared creation of innovative integrated instruction’ – I like it! Total agreement not implied. Free sharing of ideas.
Librarians are to have a supportive, rather than equal role with classroom teachers.
Models of TL and teacher collaboration:
- Coordination – low involvement
- Cooperation – medium involvement
- Integrated instruction – high involvement
- Integrated curriculum – highest involvement, planning from the very beginning/core
Quality of relationships (in trust, communication, etc) improve as move up the scale.
Collaboration involves interest, improved learning (effect of collaboration on student outcomes), intensity (commitment and participation), innovation and integration (combining it all together, cros curricula) – higher degrees, better collaboration.
‘TLs and teachers will be prepared to determine if RESOURCES are available for them to engage in high-end collaborative efforts…’ we ‘need to be able to make informed decisions about how and where their resources should be spent’ – is she saying that collaboration is not always justifiable? That the emphasis that’s coming from all the other writings is impractical, unfair, and not considerate of us as professionals or as people with lives outside of work?
Knowledge is a process, not a product.