Main Entry: col·lab·o·ratePronunciation: \kə-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt\Date: 1871
1 : to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor
- Open Minds: Collaboration hinges on people not knowing the answers to the questions and being willing to think outside of the box.
- Listening Ears: For me, collaboration is more about listening than it is talking. I’m not sure this is true for everyone. I think some people work best when they are able to speak freely and verbalize their thinking. This is one of the beautiful parts of collaboration — in order for me to process through listening, there must be others in the room who are willing to process through talking.
- Risk: Collaboration is about taking a chance on new ideas — often somebody else’s ideas. This means it takes a willingness to risk.
- Trust: A safe environment where people aren’t worried about being judged or making a mistake is important. The people I trust the most are the ones who I collaborate with the best.
- Acceptance of Change: I’ve come to realize teaching is a journey and I will be ever-changing as I grow as an educator. Collaboration is about accepting a constant state of change and growth. I hope I am always surrounded by other educators who do not want to be stagnate.
- Small Doses: A quick check-in is useful. If we wait until we have the time for collaboration, it will never happen. Short, frequent meetings are important. They are like a shot to keep me focused and reflecting on my practice.
- Chunks of Time: From time to time it is essential to come together for a longer amount of time to truly pause and think about our practice.
- Self-Reflection: When teachers are dedicated to reflecting on their practices on their own, their work together becomes more effective.
- Space for the Unexpected: It is essential to provide time for ideas to unfold organically. When collaboration is overly structured or controlled, then there isn’t room for ideas to evolve and the unexpected to happen.
- Joy: Collaboration is at its finest when people are joyful about their work.
What about you? What are your essentials to true, worthwhile collaboration?
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