1.3 Instructional Partner
Candidates model, share, and promote effective principles of teaching and learning as collaborative partners with other educators.
Teacher: “You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!”
School Librarian: “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!”
News Flash: That’s a good thing.
-adapted from the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Advertising Campaign
For many years, educators have lived within their own bubbles. They have been masters of their individual classrooms and libraries and have often worked in isolation. For many teachers, the definition of collaboration has been trading handouts and discussing lesson ideas. There is certainly a continued place for this type of cooperative work, but few educators have a clear concept of what true collaboration looks like, though recent studies sing the praises of the positive effect that classroom teacher/school librarian collaboration has on student success. With the goal of communicating the definition of true collaboration and its importance, the members of my Instructional Collaboration course worked in small groups to design faculty inservice presentation. We knew that as school librarians, it fell to us to model, share, and promote effective principles of teaching and learning through collaborative partnerships with other educators. The brochure I have included as an artifact represents one of my specific contributions and the inservice script represents the full synthesis of our group’s efforts.
Our group worked together to design the inservice presentation, our four group members thereby modeling the collaborative process for our audience via our join preparations. We had used face-to-face class time and a digital wiki format to collaborate with one another and contribute to the shaping of our presentation. The online component was a tremendous help in streamlining the collaborative process since we could not always be together. The barrier of finding common time to work was nearly eliminated, making it much simpler to put into practice the effective principles of collaborative teaching. The theme of peanut butter and chocolate that ran throughout our presentation was the result of a collaborative brainstorm. We wanted a cohesive focus for our presentation that would be fun and appealing for the outwardly vibrant teacher personalities without being so “cutesy” that it would turn off a teacher with a more “refined” personality. It helped to have the varied perspectives of librarians and librarians-in-training with experience at both the elementary and high school levels.
The inservice presentation was designed to share and promote effective collaborative partnerships between teachers and school librarians. As I part of that presentation, we wanted there to be something physical that the teachers could take away from the program as the concept of true collaboration gelled in their minds. And so the idea for the brochure was born. In a cute, memorable way, the brochure presents a clear and concise definition for true collaboration The tri-fold design (another product of the collaborative revision process) highlights the three essential components to the collaborative process: co-planning, co-implementation, and co-assessment. This brochure could be distributed to the teachers immediately following the inservice presentation or could be placed in their mailboxes as a follow-up to the inservice. It would serve as a more lasting promotion of collaboration as an effective principle of teaching and learning.
The need to share and promote the collaborative process was very real to me throughout the planning of our inservice presentation because of my own growth as a school library candidate. I am embarrassed to confess that prior to taking Instructional Collaboration, I myself had no idea what the true collaboration model looked like. “Collaboration” was a very vague term in my mind that essentially meant talking with another colleague. My perspectives and attitudes regarding collaboration changed dramatically as a result of taking the course, and I was eager to share my epiphanies with others. I know firsthand that most educators do not recognize the three-fold components of the true collaborative process. I hope to use this brochure and a similar inservice model in my future school library position to build a collaborative teaching environment.