Challenges of Working Together

The first article by Harvey really put together I think some of the issues that came up during the online class, because it shows how easy it is to not think about what teachers are doing. To really be an effective collaborator with teachers requires time to really understand how the teachers in your school are working and what’s the best way to mesh with them without stepping on their toes.

I found the Marcoux article seemed focused on how do you define what makes good collaboration and how do you insure that its going on. Also I liked how this article took the time to look at how collaboration can be a benefit for students and educators and that one of the most important things is how its based around working with a peer. The research evidence also was fascinating in terms of showing just how powerful collaboration can be on many different levels while showing that it requires work from all sides at the same time.

The Motown Method is a wonderful way to explain how powerful collaboration can be by showing that it allows teachers to take turns being in the lead and that when it works properly there can be great harmony. I can see how this metaphor would be a wonderful way to introduce collaboration to teachers who maybe worried that its a negative reflection on them when its actually a way to add more to teaching. I’d be curious to know how the Motown Method works in practice.

From the start the Todd article is really striving to create a reality check of how much collaboration doesn’t happen and that instead there might be coordination but not the true collaboration that everyone wants. Then it goes into the discussion of the ILILE program which looks to be focused on looking at how to make collaboration work but also understanding where it works best and is appropriate. I especially like the finding “helplessness is learned” and that using that as a way to step into really talking and training with teachers and librarians. I also found it interesting how many of the findings talked about planning, which makes sense since good collaboration is based around taking the time to create a plan and bring it together and working through challenges and barriers.

The Moreillon chapter seems to be going along the same lines and my first thought is that I really like the use of the phrase teacher-librarians since its an effective way to remind everyone that librarians do teach. I found the idea that making that step from seeing librarians as simply support to co-teachers seems to be one of the greatest challenges but that when there’s a lot of accountability, they can become an ally. The balance of where lots of books should be housed was something that I found of particular interest since it seems like the idea of children learning to read for pleasure can become less important as standards need to met. This presents a real challenge since teachers and librarians might not think to work with each other on this issue, the focus might be more on learning to research instead of more reading. Assessment seems like a powerful tool in showing that collaboration can work, but also in showing that its always a work in progress. Since after every lesson or project, there should be time to figure out what worked and what didn’t and that’s something that can be talked about with an administrator and shown to say, this is what we found worked and this didn’t so we’ll do this next time. Also the combination of talking about lowering student to teacher ratio along with the discussion of how collaboration can help teachers not be isolated resonates because such an important part of the learning that happens in school isn’t always easily measured. This seems like a way of considering what does it mean to have more people involved in teaching and how can it really be effective and a growing experience for everyone.



Filed under school library management reflection

2 responses to “Challenges of Working Together

  1. It was really interesting to see “helplessness is learned” aimed at an educator — which is perfectly rational and probably warranted in some cases. However, we used to use that phrase quite often regarding students when their parents wanted us to do everything for them. It’s interesting how things can come full circle.

    • I’d never heard it before, but it seems to be quite effective for covering a lot of issues in terms of that balance of teaching someone and doing it for them.

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