In a recent session with my teachers on Collaborative Planning, I had a few important insights about the process of working together as a team.
All members of the team working with students in the PYP need to work collaboratively. I have always believed in the Buddhist spirit of ‘Many in body, one in mind’ which also applies to working collaboratively. So it is not about just structuring groups, and getting them to meet, but also looking at the needs of the curriculum. A collaborative group can merely be the teachers of a home room and their PYP coordinator. Or it could be a larger body of all teachers working in that class. Or it could even be just the specialists with the Home Room Teachers, as per the subject focus. Or even still, it could be the specialists together, to establish interlinks and design a balanced curricular map and a well distributed interaction across a grade through the year!
How much collaboration is needed and/or acceptable? This was a question that bothers us most of the times. Are we doing enough? Is it properly structured? Through my experience and based on my discussions, I realised that CP is not about just time tabling it but about its worthwhile-ness! What is the outcome of the CP? Is it furthering students’ understanding of the conceptual understandings in the UOI or in single subject areas? If yes, then it is just right. If not we need to review our purpose in the first instance. A teacher shared with a great sense of joy and satisfaction that for a unit under the theme How we express ourselves, the specialists pitched in genuinely making authentic connections across subject areas without much physical time and space allotted to CP! To me this is successful CP as the learning experiences were enriched greatly and more importantly authentically. It is thus, not about how much but about how well it worked!
In the end, WHY?
I don’t think that CP should be looked as a standard merely that has to be met. It needs to be the backbone of the PLC at the school. We can collaborate not just to strengthen our units but also to even engage in school celebrations, or organise school visits. Working together as a team, helps us as individuals display the attributes of the LP thereby, role modelling them. At the end of the day, we are all ultimately responsible for developing the attributes of the LP in our students. By working together, we are fitting in the jigsaw pieces of this understanding in the mind of the child…the more the pieces and the myriad the colours, the richer the mural and the more wholly developed will the child be. Ultimately life is in techni-colour and rich in its interconnections. So why should teaching and learning in the classroom be any different?