Collaborating Our Way into the Future
For years, competition has been the source of the motivation that pushes us to do better—be better. In government, society, and our daily lives, we receive rewards for how well we compare to those around us. This system has pervaded from elementary to beyond the highest reaches of society. What if we flipped the script and changed that fact?
Collaboration has the potential to answer that wonder with outstanding effect. In a school setting, teachers, students, and parents can receive the benefits that collaboration has to offer. From problem-solving to pure creativity, we have the chance to bring students to new heights.
With the growth of technology, we can build vast networks that connect all individuals involved in the learning process. Growth takes an effort that is only sustainable with interdependence, and to make genuine changes, we need to work to the advantages of collective struggle.
Areas of Collaboration
Educator Collaboration: Collaboration on the level of the educator can take on many versions. To fully engage students and understand what connects them to the content, teachers must have access to each other. Creative ideas that individual teachers create need the chance to spread among their colleagues. The need is for teachers to connect not only within their school but also across the country extends to school leadership, the rules, and events that produce the best school-wide environments.
Teacher and Parent Collaboration: Maintaining consistency is crucial to helping students grow effectively. Past limitations, combined with student-teacher ratios, have proven an obstacle for all parents and teachers to make a healthy connection. However, the changing times can provide parents the chance to receive actual depth in their child’s progress that expands beyond just grades and remarks. An additional level of parent involvement can help understand the causes and solutions that can prevent student drop-out.
Student Collaboration: Problem-solving is a crucial tool that often goes understated, and a new generation of classrooms can bring new dynamics to the teacher-student relationship to change this. For too long, achievement and success have been the only two motivators prevalent in the school. What if we allowed students to work with teachers and other students to create more than just good grades and completed projects? This opportunity will enable them to develop new ideas together, and it has the chance to ease the teacher's load from how each student progressed differently. We can allow students to help others and find the same success and add a dynamic layer that can reward students for working well as teams instead of just individuals.
Parent Collaboration: As seen in the environment of sports teams, parents have the chance to form relationships with each other. A collaborative network can extend to parents outside of the classroom and allow them to solve common problems, raise awareness, and connect with others in supportive ways.
Levels of Collaboration (1)
To use the full potential of collaboration, we have to understand the different levels of engagement. Unlike the competition, the more collaborative we get, the more we encourage a healthy interdependence that balances individual weaknesses and strengths.
Storytelling and Scanning: Here, individuals provide an ability to hear other occurrences that may have similarities and contrasts.
Aid and Assistance: This is typically the extent of collaboration within the modern classroom. It provides a chance to help others, but heavily depends on a one-way relationship where one gains more benefit than the other.
Sharing: The real human strength comes when we leverage diversity for the better. The third level, sharing, is where we see the progress that benefits both sides of the relationship.
Joint Work, the last level, does more than help the individuals involved in the relationship as it can help those around, and is where great ideas and processes flourish.
Collaboration adds a layer of motivation that can help students achieve what was previously unthinkable. Students with a multi-dimensional network that provides support have fewer struggles to face alone in the classroom.
So, what forms might this take? That’s something we will continue to look at down the road
Community Engagement Question
In what ways can we connect students, teachers, and parents?
(1) Chetty, Nithya Dewi Subramaniam, et al. “Learning Styles and Teaching Styles Determine Students’ Academic Performances.” International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education (IJERE), vol. 8, no. 4, 2019, p. 610., doi:10.11591/ijere. v8i4.20345.