Sunday, 9 April 2017

Collaborative Practice - An evolving process

When teachers from other schools (one or two principals included) and parents from my school ask me "what I really think" about collaboration, I have a range of responses flipping through my head as I realise that for many, we educators are still trying to get the 'why' across. My responses include such things as:

  • Why would we be providing exactly the same service that we provided 30 years ago? Who does that? We would sack our doctor, lawyer, and even our electrician if they were. 
  • I call to mind Ken Robinson's ageing but still very relevant video clip on changing educational paradigms, the essential message being that we no longer need to be producing 80% of our workforce for factory work and an education system built around industrialisation. Right down to production line desks and bells tolling the end of the shift. 
  • I think about the wonderfully simple youtube clip about collaboration, Above and Beyond. Where the opportunity for thinking outside the box and working together is so artfully made clear.

  • Having the modern learning environment does not equate to innovative learning practices - for that to happen a whole paradigm shift has to happen. Otherwise it is merely single cell thinking where old practices are being squashed into educational situations that they just don't fit into any more. 
  • There are a few clues that old school thinking lingers even when it is not intentional. For example:  Too much furniture. How often do we have all of the children sitting at a desk these days?; ability grouping children, locking them into set groups akin to 'interchange' when flexible grouping based on next steps or shared experiences makes more sense. 
  • Education delivery now is exciting and the possibilities of innovative practices can allow us to open our minds to promising new ideas. As Carol Dweck says "It's all in the mindset". (Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindset: How you can fulfill your potential. Constable & Robinson Limited.)