By Marilyn Friend, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Representative to the Representative Assembly (RA) for the Teacher Education Division (TED)
This semester, I’m teaching a doctoral level seminar on collaboration as it pertains to the field of special education. My students have background in early childhood education, speech/language therapy, and special education. As we begin to explore the state of the art of school collaboration, they are raising concerns that I suspect also are pertinent to most of you reading these posts. They’ve raised issues such as these, topics that I hope some of you are interested in commenting on:
- Educators often say that they value collaboration, but when it comes to implementation, they may decide they only want to collaborate with certain individuals or in situations that are their choice. One of the most difficult aspects of collaboration is the understanding that it should be based on the goal to be achieved. That is, if attaining a goal (for us, usually positive student outcomes, but it could be others, such as designing a new program, revising curriculum, or creating a professional development activity) is most likely when professionals work together, then collaboration is necessary. It’s not a matter of choice based on preference, it’s a matter of choice based on understanding the goal.
Enough! I hope that these comments prompt you to think further about the collaboration that occurs (or doesn’t?) in your own situation and to ask questions or post comments about successes as well as dilemmas. I’ll check in several times between now and the end of the week to see what you’ve added. I’ve also asked my students to check the site, and so you might hear from them as well.