What does collaboration look like?

I recently co-presented a workshop with an educator who is very different from me. She is both experienced and knowledgeable, but our beliefs about teaching and learning don’t coincide, so the planning process involved much disagreement and compromise.

According to the dictionary:

Screen Shot 2013-04-13 at 9.27.51 AM

Collaboration is ‘working together’, but is ‘working together’ necessarily collaboration? Or does true collaboration require specific conditions?


As I prepare for a coming PYP workshop, I find myself content to be presenting alone. Using Simon Sinek’s golden circle principle, I start from the ‘why’, rather than the ‘what’. My approach is based on my beliefs about learning and my presentation has the stamp of my personal style.


I’m still collaborating.

Input from my global learning network adds another dimension via blogs, Skype and Twitter. I have invited other experienced educators to share their perspectives, requested permission to include others’ examples, sought opinions, discussed ideas with and gathered resources from my global community of educators.

As recently stated so beautifully by a group of 8 year olds inquiring into community:

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Year 3 GBH

5 thoughts on “What does collaboration look like?

  1. Your post sparks my memory of a recent conversation I had with my brother in law, a New Zealand elementary school principal. Recently he visited a brand new school in Auckland that has been built to the latest national building guidelines for New Zealand schools. Naturally the school was just an incredible teaching and learning space. The pods consisted a large space for 75 students (3 teacher’s), temporary partitions and withdrawal rooms. On entering the various spaces it was immediately evident to him which teachers were working together collaboratively, and which were just working together. Just because we say it is collaboration, this does not mean it is.


    1. Thanks for commenting, Glen. I agree… we have an open plan flexible learning space at our junior campus and the shared space doesn’t work to support learning unless the teaching team is truly collaborative.


  2. Hi Ed, Have you read the article ‘Getting To No. Building True Collegiality in Schools’ by
    Robert Evans? I thought of it when I read your post this morning as collegial collaboration sounds like the situation you just described.
    BTW- I loved the definition of what a community is by your 8 year olds. Thanks for sharing!


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