Everybody talks about the overused term “collaboration” these days, with the intellectual, goal-driven nature of collaboration often overlooked or unrecognized. Making professional learning communities happen consistently, dependably and at a level that yields improved teaching and learning is increasingly difficult given the daily demands of teachers and administrators on a school campus.
Our intent here is not to establish a definitive definition of collaboration but rather to introduce a definition that corresponds to the kind of collaboration we have researched over the last twenty-five years. Collaboration is more than just sharing ideas, materials and experiences. Collaborations is an intellectual endeavor – purposefully working towards a common goal and sustaining that work together until the goal is achieved and/or until important understanding are gained about that goal and what it takes to achieve it.
Developed and refined through our work with Southern California schools and districts, our Teacher Collaboration Handbook explains in detail the practices and methods associated with our four essential elements of collaboration. How to build and maintain job-alike teams, how to select and support team facilitators, how to incorporate the Plan-Do-Analyze-Reflect protocol into monthly cycles, and how to establish and maintain weekly teacher team settings and monthly teacher facilitator settings.
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Sustained over time, teacher collaboration produces student achievement results and those results in turn contribute to a positive school climate. A growing sense develops around a collaborative staff that they can work together to tackle the most daunting challenges. Our Teacher Collaboration Handbook provides the structure, processes, and protocols to allow effective collaboration to emerge as professional learning communities that yield improved teaching and learning.