According to (Johnston, 2015, p.39) when parties collaborate, they create more resources and ideas than they could produce individually. Many teachers believe that they collaborate with other teachers and their students collaborate with each other, but mostly this is just cooperation. For a difference between cooperation and collaboration refer to my post ‘Collaboration and cooperation‘.
TLs put the skills they teach into practise when they collaborate with other teachers by providing skills and knowledge to complement the classroom teacher’s contributions (Ray, 2018. p.27). Before commencing the Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) my efforts to collaborate with teachers were limited. I tried to collaborate by integrating language into the Geography unit (China) for Stage 2 and purchasing extra resources for Stage 3 Geography (Japan) and looking up web resources and sending links to teachers about Japan. Due to past culture in the school, the library was avoided by teachers and under-utilised. As a new teacher to the school, it took a long time for staff to trust me enough to start approaching me to ask for resources. Looking back on that experience with what I know now I could have approached things differently. In the future, I will take it a step further and actively invite teachers to work with me. Next time I am in a situation where the TL and resources are under-utilised I will start following Lewis’ suggestion (2016, p.19) by identifying one teacher to approach to work collaboratively with. We would plan the unit together, integrating my skills of general capabilities (ICT and CCT) and inquiry learning with the teacher’s curriculum knowledge. Responsibilities for assessment would be discussed and a unit evaluation with the teachers and students held to improve the program next time. Finally, I would present with the collaborating teacher at a staff session to showcase the collaboration learning outcomes and evaluation to demonstrate how the TL can help with student outcomes and achievements. If you would like to read more about collaboration Staying Cool in the Library has several great pointers for collaborating with teachers.
How do you collaborate with others?
Johnston, M. P. (2015). Distributed Leadership Theory for Investigating Teacher Librarian Leadership. School Libraries Worldwide, 21(2), 39–57. doi: 10.14265.21.2.003
Lewis, K (2016). The school librarian and leadership: What can be learned? Teacher Librarian, 43 (4), 26-29. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com
Ray, M. (2018). Leadership suits me. Teacher Librarian, 46 (2), 26-29. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com
Staying Cool in the library. (2018, August). 6 tips for teacher/librarian collaboration [blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.stayingcoolinthelibrary.us/2018/08/6-tips-for-teacherlibrarian.html.