Saturday, May 7, 2011

The dark side of collaboration...

One of the most important things we can do as Educators is to spend the time talking and collaborating with our colleagues. Whether these colleagues are in our buildings or are members of our PLN, the added benefits of sharing and collaboration are undeniable.

Here is where it gets a little complicated...

Imagine there are two math teachers discussing ways to cover a particular concept or learning objective. As the discussion develops, great ideas and potential solutions are being shared, but then all of a sudden there is a difference in opinions.

The two math teachers are both extremely dedicated professionals who want to do what is best for their students, but the path toward doing what is best for their students could not be more different. Each math teacher has a fundamentally different belief on how to best deliver the instruction, as well as how to assess and track student progress.

There is no doubt that some strategies and methods work better for some Educators than others. The problem is, what happens when we KNOW that one particular strategy or method is better for students, but because of the philosophical beliefs of an Educator that strategy or method will NEVER be used...

I fully support and believe in Educator autonomy. We all got into education to have a positive impact on the lives of our students, and the path we use to achieve this impact SHOULD and MUST be of our own choosing.

How can we do what is best for our students while embracing and encouraging Educator autonomy while also recognizing the different fundamental and philosophical beliefs we may have of education?

This is a question that has been plaguing me for a while, and by no means do I expect to find the answer any time soon, but I am however interested in hearing what other Educators think.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and reflections :)