Because of increased diversity in schools today, teachers can no longer act as independent entities but must collaborate across disciplines to reach all of the students in their classes.
The key to effective collaboration is open communication among partners, flexibility, and resourcefulness. Long lasting, effective partnerships also suggest that the entire school focus on a shared vision. That is, educators need to provide others in the school setting with information about academic goals, effective instructional methods, behavior management, standardized testing, and any issues affecting the teaching and learning of ELLs.
A strong initiative would include:
- bringing together all teachers, school personnel, and administrators for a couple of hours once a month to discuss effective practices for working with ELL students,
- allowing time for teachers to sit in each others’ classes and observe ELL students in different learning settings
- offering a series of professional development initiatives that are aligned to academic standards, curriculum, and assessment and that include all partners to discuss issues related to second language development and the acculturation process
- emphasizing high expectations for all students
- creating opportunities for native English speakers and ELLs to work together in structured classroom activities and to interact socially outside of the classroom
- developing an interdisciplinary curriculum to allow for team teaching
- sponsoring curricular and extracurricular activities that involve ELL students’ parents and the non-English speaking community
The sites below provide more information on how to develop and maintain effective collaboration in schools and how to provide educators with the kind of professional development needed to enable effective collaboration: