Here at CSS, we are privileged in our school’s approach to collaboration and the time that we are given to work together. The inclusion of collaboration in the Exemplary Teaching and Learning frameworks is not just another indicator. Collaboration is at the heart of the amazing things that happen at CSS. That being said, the actual, lived experiences of collaboration are vastly different from one teaching team to the next. Teachers do however seem to agree that relationships are key to successful collaboration, and evaluating such dynamic processes is difficult.
Enter: a research and innovation project aimed initially at evaluating the impact of collaboration on teaching and learning, and then more specifically, at envisioning what exemplary collaboration really should look like at CSS. The Exemplary Collaboration Framework was created.
This document is meant to guide our collaborative practice and create a cohesive vision of what exemplary collaboration should look like at CSS. This framework still includes measures from the rubric we have used up until this point, but is more focused on meaningful descriptors that match the unique nature of collaborative practice at CSS.
The framework is currently being modified to use in the classroom with students, and will hopefully be used with experts and other people who are a part of the CSS community. Eventually the framework could be developed into a digital document with video support for each descriptor to illustrate exemplary collaboration to enhance the idea of having a unified vision of what exemplary collaboration looks like.
It is worth noting that no single document will ever be sufficient in evaluating the collaborative journey. Just as we use should multiple tools to evaluate and conceptualize inquiry, so we should with collaboration.
Having multiple voices contributing to the design and implementation of classroom activities ensures that teachers are being pushed to the next level and considering all facets of teaching and learning. My teaching partner is continually pushing me to be a better teacher for my students. She asks the questions that I do not think of, and vice-versa. This is the nature of exemplary collaboration; when you are not teaching in isolation your practice is able to be more fluid, more responsive, and more meaningful because it comes from multiple perspectives.