Benefits of Collaboration in the Classroom

Benefits of Collaboration in the Classroom
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  • 0:03 Why Collaborate?
  • 0:46 Modeling Collaboration
  • 1:51 Bouncing Ideas
  • 2:29 Complementing…
  • 3:30 Critical Thinking &…
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Collaboration in the classroom benefits teachers and students alike. It's well worth the challenges and resources that it requires. This lesson discusses some of the important benefits of classroom collaboration.

Why Collaborate?

Dana and Gillian are elementary school teachers who have been collaborating in their practice for nearly a decade. Dana is certified in general education and teaches a fourth grade class, while Gillian is certified in special education and works as a resource room teacher. Ever since they got to know each other the two teachers have worked hard to form a productive and dynamic collaborative team. Dana and Gillian believe that collaboration strengthens their teaching practice, enhances their communication with administrators and families, and helps their students be more productive and engaged learners. In this lesson, we'll explore some of the ways collaboration benefits everyone in the classroom.

Modeling Cooperation

Dana will be the first to tell you that collaboration isn't easy! There are times when she has a particular way she wants to do things and it can be quite difficult to compromise or see things from another perspective. However, Dana believes that seeing two teachers collaborate in spite of the challenges is one of the best ways to model cooperation for her students. After all, how can she ask her students to work in partnerships and groups if she can't negotiate this herself?

To model cooperation, Dana and Gillian try to be transparent about their process for collaboration. Their students see the plans they make together and watch them share responsibilities. Their students even see them disagree sometimes and benefit from watching how they work through their conflicts respectfully and carefully. By watching their teachers, Dana and Gillian's students learn that they can reach out to other people for help in challenging situations, that they can do stronger work as a team than on their own, and that honoring the perspective of another person is one of the most important things a human being can do.

Bouncing Ideas

One of Gillian's favorite aspects of collaborating with Dana and other teachers in their school is the way they can bounce ideas off of each other. When they have a difficult student, in common they can brainstorm together about how to meet the student's needs. When they are beginning a new curriculum, they generally have long conversations about how best to communicate the concepts and skills they hope to convey.

Before her current position, Gillian taught at a school where teachers tended to work in greater isolation, and she's seen how much more creative teaching can be when multiple minds come together to tackle the many challenges of the teaching profession.

Complementing Strengths and Struggles

Dana loves teaching fourth grade, but the math curriculum has always been difficult for her. She's worked on it with the math coach and gone to many workshops, and she knows her math pedagogy is improving, but she still feels that teaching math just isn't her strength. Therefore, she asks Gillian to launch each new math unit for her class and be present for important conceptual lessons.

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