Monday, March 21, 2011

Is Collaboration Universally Accepted?

This Saturday I am presenting on Collaborative Assessment at ASCD in San Francisco. As I have been preparing (and I really have been, contrary to how it appears!) I have been thinking a lot about both collaboration and assessment. At Educon my husband and I focused on the assessment piece because I believed that would be the area we would have the most difficulty all agreeing about. However, based on that experience and my recent research I think collaboration is a tougher idea than I expected.

Looking at some of the recent, 'big' books in education, I don't see collaboration as a significant focus. (I'm thinking of Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov and Focus by Mike Schmoker.) Have we moved away from valuing collaboration or is there an assumption that it is happening so much that it doesn't need to be specifically addressed?

When I initially proposed this session I was thinking that collaboration is well established and accepted and I would need to simply make the argument and share ideas for collaboration in relation to assessment. Now I wonder if I need to make the argument for collaboration first. Any thoughts?


Karen said...

I think it's the quality of the collaboration that may need to be addressed....I can think of all of the duFour-style meetings that really don't focus on students--that are collaboration time in name only. Schools that say they have collaboration time--but it's really just the same old meetings

Angela said...

Hey, Jenny, which day and time slot is your session at ASCD? I'm attending and would love to stop by and introduce myself. :-)

Summers School said...

I agree with Karen. My principal talks a lot about collaboration, as does another member of my 4th grade team but... there is a lot of complaining that happens before any collaboration. Complaining about another meeting, complaning that it's taking away our "right" to teach as we wish. There's a lot of bitterness and it really creates a toxic environment.