Collaborative learning involves interdependence between the success of the individual and the success of the group, requiring both personal preparation and teamwork. Asynchronous work, in combination with group interaction and problem-solving, differentiates collaborative learning from other interactive teaching methods. Important rules, in this case, are : (a) familiarity with collaborative learning, (b) relationships, (c) benefits, (d) motivations, and (e) design and process.
Read more: Falcione , S., Campbell, E., McCollum, B., Chamberlain, J., Macias, M., Morsch , L., & Pinder , C. (2019). Emergence of different perspectives of success in collaborative learning. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10 (2). https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2019.2.8227
Familiarity with collaborative learning
Collaboration is the process of working together to achieve a common goal. A collaborative learning approach involves pupils working together on activities or learning tasks in a group small enough to ensure that everyone participates. Pupils in the group may work on separate tasks contributing to a common outcome, or work together on a shared task.
Teacher collaborative learning involves:
Collaborative learning brings teachers together as learners, with a shared goal of improving learner outcomes. In professional learning communities, all teachers contribute as equals, seeking to understand and respond to what is happening for their learners. The focus is on problem-solving together, drawing on both research and student evidence to inform and evaluate changes to practice. In a learning community of practice, every professional is valued, respected, and listened to know that everyone can contribute to the professional development of teachers.
By focusing on building respectful relationships, teachers create an inclusive environment where:
In this case, teachers actively promote relationship building. Through constructive, respectful, and trusting relationships, a favorable environment is created because of these relationships. Therefore this inclusive school environment becomes sustainable.
Collaborative learning is based on evidence of success, giving that evidence to the privileged few, learning from it, scaling it up, and ensuring others move on to the experience. It's learning from mistakes, seeking feedback on progress, and enjoying the help of experts that provide safety nets and problem-solving. Creative collaboration involves the bringing together of two or more seemingly unrelated ideas and re-emphasizes the importance of creating safe and trusted spaces to explore ideas, make and learn from mistakes, and use knowledge to maximize successful learning.
Design and process
Teachers need to collaborate with others. This is a necessary step towards becoming competent, inclusive professionals. Therefore, it is important to develop a shared practice with others here. This is best achieved by actively working towards a vision of becoming a learning community. In a learning community, professionals learn by sharing experiences and working towards a common goal. Inclusive professionals are reaching out to a diversity of opinions, competencies, aspirations, or communication styles and making the best use of them to improve practice.
Some ideas that can be included in the collaborative learning process:
All members of learning communities benefit from effective collaboration. Active collaboration requires a shift from managing the learning of a single group of learners to taking collective responsibility for the success and well-being of all learners. Inclusive learning environments are changing the ways that teachers teach, plan, and inquire into teaching together. in such a way learners benefit from collaborative teaching because teachers take collective responsibility for the progress of all learners. Teachers who know how to collaborate effectively model skills of collaboration to their learners. Collaborative teaching environments provide opportunities for teachers to learn from and with each other on an ongoing basis. Teachers can observe other teachers in action, engage in professional conversations about the impact of different approaches, and get feedback on their own teaching. Collaborative teaching teams support each other’s professional growth. This creates synergy, allowing teams to achieve more than they would if teachers worked independently.
References and additional information:
Before starting a professional development programme (PDP), it is necessary to explore what it could mean for you and your school. To this end, you usually plan a consultation or intake meeting with your management and other relevant stakeholders, e.g. one or more interested teachers, colleagues from your care team, possibly a coordinator, mentor, policy supporter, etc.
The following guiding questions can start the conversation about this.
Based on these reflections, you decide on the approach of your professional development programme. These guiding questions help you weigh up the extent to which these choices match your own professional learning needs.
After the (management) team decides to start a professional development programme, it is necessary to inform and involve all teachers in the school. This is best done about
Above all, transparent communication is needed about the trajectory's coherence with the school's policy. For example, you can answer the following guiding questions in this regard.
Once there is clarity on this, you can think together about the needs your colleagues experience in this respect. In this way, all colleagues can take ownership of this professional development pathway and you will arrive at a shared responsibility to realise the goals.