As I walked through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus I noticed what they had posted throughout their campus-a real simple phrase. The Power of AND. I began to reflect as I strolled around. I interpret this to mean that collaboration is key. Not only is collaboration key to have among colleagues, but modeling collaboration for our students to use in their lives is essential.
Hall and Nussbaum-Beach (2012) suggest that we each bring something unique to our profession. If we don’t work collaboratively and share our unique experiences, we may not be able to solve problems as effectively. In addition the authors state, “...collaboration has a strong positive effect on instruction and student learning” (p.13). Causton and Tracy-Bronson (2015) state that if all the adults on a team work together, student growth will occur. Fisher and Frey (2015) encourage collaboration among teachers, stating that PLCs have helped countless schools become successful. Finally Jensen (2016) claims, “We are not just driven to be social. We are genetically timed for it” (p.38). Why not use this biological social wiring to promote excellent collaboration and communication?
Collaboration among students is paramount. Jensen (2016) states that high-achieving students had strong peer support networks. Teaching students how to develop and work together to solve problems will help them with their networking skills. Fisher and Frey (2015) suggest that when students work together to solve problems, they will be able to merge what they know with others. Thus, more learning will take place. Causton and Tracy-Bronson (2015) state that a teacher needs to help “students connect with one another...by becoming a bridge linking students and their peers” (p.158). Hall and Nussbaum-Beach (2012) take it a step further by suggesting we need to help students collaborate with students from other cultures both physically and virtually. It gives me chills just thinking about the possibility of having a classroom full of students collaborating with other students from around of our state, country, or even world!
I go back to that quote of “The Power of AND”, and it makes me realize the impact that four words can make. People may interpret this phrase differently, but I believe that it shows the significance of collaboration. I will continue to use collaboration among my peers with practicing PLCs, as well as, encourage collaboration among students (after all it's all about the kids!). In addition, a goal of mine is to have students collaborate with others through technology. I think this would be a great way for students to learn about others’ cultural beliefs, as well as, include diversity within my instruction. What are your goals or strategies to promote and instill collaboration among your colleagues and students?
Causton, J., & Tracy-Bronson, C. P. (2015). The educator's handbook for inclusive practices.
Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2015). Unstoppable learning: Seven essential elements to unleash student
potential. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Hall, L. R., & Nussbaum-Beach, S. (2012). The connected educator: Learning and leading in a
digital age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Jensen, E. (2016). Poor students, rich teaching: Mindsets for change. Bloomington, IN: Solution