The Collaborative Process describes the conditions and practices that support collaboration, and it explains how the collaborative process works to improve teaching and learning. The specifics of collaboration as they relate to the team structures specified in the Ohio Improvement Process are also shared. The module also considers essential practices for district and school leaders working to support collaborative inquiry and problem-solving.
This module aligns with the following areas in Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework
- Area 1: Data and Decision-Making Process
- Area 3: Instruction and the Learning Process
- Area 5: Resource Management Process
After completing the Educator Collaboration Self-Assessment provided on page 2 of this module, discuss your results with colleagues on your DLT, BLT, or TBT. Consider, as a team, how your team's views on the importance of collaboration might affect the functioning of your DLT, BLT, or TBT. Discuss the steps you might take to strengthen collaboration and team functioning.
What team structures are used in your school and across your district?
- Which ones are designed to improve instructional practice and student performance? Which ones aren't?
- How might your district and school ensure the most effective use of team structures if the district's goal is to improve learning for adults and students?
Are all teachers in your district or school involved in at least one collaborative learning team (e.g., teacher-based team)?
- If they are, how has your school or district arranged the schedule to allow for teams to meet?
- If not all teachers are involved in at least one TBT, what steps should the school and district take to make teacher learning through TBTs a reality?
- How can schedules be altered or refined to ensure that every teacher-and other personnel with a role in planning for, providing, and/or supporting instruction-participates fully as a TBT member?
Not all teachers in your school or district are going to want to participate in collaborative inquiry and planning, and collaboration is not something that can be forced. If you are a superintendent, central office administrator, or principal, develop a process for encouraging teachers in your school or district to participate in collaborative inquiry. If you are a teacher, what arguments might you provide to a teacher colleague to encourage him or her to contribute to the types of inquiry that are part of Ohio's 5-step process?
The Stages of Teaming
Teams can get bogged down at any of the first three stages in their development: forming, storming, or norming. And when teams get bogged down, their performance suffers. What steps can you take as a team member (not as the facilitator) to help a team become more productive at each of these three stages? In other words, what can a proactive team member do at the forming stage, the storming stage, and the norming stage to help make the team more focused and productive?
As the module explains, DLTs, BLTs, and TBTs remain on-task by using agendas to structure meetings, keeping minutes, making use of relevant data, and consulting high-quality research about effective educational strategies. Productive teams also keep track of what they accomplish, share resources to inform their work, and follow through with the actions they agree to take. Review a copy of the minutes from a DLT, BLT, and a TBT in your district. Analyze each of these documents in terms of its effectiveness as a communication tool. Does it provide enough information? Is it clear? Would someone who missed the meeting (but read the minutes) be able to follow through with agreed-upon actions? What would be needed in order to improve the minutes from each team?
You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.
For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.