This is necessary both inside and outside of the classroom. Obviously, it is essential for co-teachers to be on the same page and working together to meet student needs, but inter-collegiate collaboration should extend beyond that.
It’s important for schools to put structures in place, both academic and disciplinary, for students to succeed. This is especially important for students with IEPs, who struggle with schedules and need consistent reinforcement of skills.
It is also important for students to see collaboration happen. This past year, my co-teacher and I incorporated a lot more collaborative group work that involved students at different levels working together to complete complex tasks. At the beginning of the year, we provided a lot of structure for these assignments, designating tasks and timetables.
For the culminating project, however, students were left to figure these out on their own and, because of practice throughout the year, they were able to use their various strengths to complete the assignment. I believe that part of their success was because my co-teacher and I openly model our collaboration. We divide lesson plans and work towards our strengths.
Collaboration is essential for successful ICT classrooms, between co-teachers, between students, and between teachers and students. It is the most helpful tool I have used to create an environment of respect and culture for learning. Next year, I want to continue to model and incorporate collaborative learning in the classroom.