What is Collaboration (part 1)

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As I wrote earlier , I had the very fortunate luck of attending  a mini-session at the Project Zero Summer Institute 2013:   “Effective Professional Learning Communities:  Supporting Learning in Staff Rooms and Classrooms” by Daniel Wilson.  The session aimed at identifying the key features of learning communities while discussing the common roadblocks that impede progress.

Group work and collaboration can be chaotic, frustrating and laborious.  Done well, it produces better products that are more responsive to group needs than those created by a lone cowboy.

True collaboration is not simply

  • communicating your plans without care for others
  • coordinating parts in an additive fashion that is not fluent
  • cooperating in a passive fashion without discussion and agreement on the big ideas
Daniel Wilson:    Effective Professional Learning Communities:  Supporting Learning in and Staff Rooms and Classrooms  Project Zero Summer Institute 2013,   Harvard Graduate School of Education

Daniel Wilson:
Effective Professional Learning Communities:
Supporting Learning in and Staff Rooms and Classrooms
Project Zero Summer Institute 2013, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ideally, collaboration is the highly developed and dynamic process whereby more than one person comes together to create something truly unique and creative.  This process is democratic; with everyone’s voice heard.  The parts are reciprocally interdependent and the outcome a melodic blend that fits together well. Individuals design together, as equals, for the greater good.

This is true for all groups.

Effective Languages in Learning Groups

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I had the very fortunate luck of attending  Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute last summer.  One of the mini-sessions I attended was “Effective Professional Learning Communities:  Supporting Learning in Staff Rooms and Classrooms” by Daniel Wilson.  The session aimed at identifying the key features of learning communities while discussing the common roadblocks that impede progress.

Wilson created this helpful graphic to help us understand the languages that we use in learning groups.  This chart summarizes, on a continuum, the ways in which people share ideas.

 

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“Languages that support learning are most effective when they are in the moment portable across situations and focus on sharing, generating, integrating knowledge to solve problems. “

 

Group work is full of difficult paradoxes.  What is important, though, is that each person understand, accept and embrace differences so that problems can ultimately be solved.  The languages we use become the details that either make or break the process.  Being honest with oneself is the first step toward progress.