Collaboration is an essential element to teaching, learning, and school success for all stakeholders involved in the school on all levels and in all areas. “Regularly scheduled teacher collaboration positively affects teacher instructional practices by impacting teacher learning, student learning and by creating and sustaining a culture of shared learning” (Lanich, 2009). Collaboration creates a team approach in which teachers must work together to create positive learning experiences for students by gaining information, knowledge, and feedback from education partners as well as students. Teachers must involve students in the planning process to include their interests and learning styles. When students are interested in lesson topics and ideas, they are motivated to participate and achieve desired learning outcomes and goals. Creating a team approach allows teachers to encourage problem solving skills and disciplines and increases student motivation and ownership of the classroom problem. Collaborative efforts allow students to share different perceptions of the problem (Wenyi, 2008). All persons involved in the teaching and learning process must collaborate with one another for the full perspective of classroom tasks. Teachers, students, administrators, and parents play important roles in student and school success.
Collaborating with Stakeholders
Lead classroom teachers at the pre-kindergarten level must collaborate with other teachers, students, parents, and administrators to achieve learning success and student progress. Teachers must consult their students in the class on levels and areas of interest. If pre-kindergarten students are interested in sports and athletics, teachers can plan a theme around a particular sport or activity. A sports theme would allow parents to be involved in the planning and presentation portion of the lesson plans by providing their expertise and experiences in games with their children. Administrators would be involved in the planning process as well by inviting and involving community coaches to visit the school, thus adding another stakeholder as a collaborator. “Who should decide if a ministry focus is discontinued” (Adrianna V., personal communication, May 13, 2013)? Deciding to discontinue areas of study must be group decisions and collaborative efforts and not quickly decided. These choices must receive multiple times of study by multiple stakeholders to weigh the positive and negative reasons for the programs.
The stakeholders of an early childhood learning environment consist of students, teachers, administrators, and parents as well as the church staff if it is a faith-based early learning center. The primary responsibility falls on the classroom teacher to plan and prepare lessons for students in the class; however, she must plan lessons based upon student interests to ensure motivation for participation. She must plan her lessons to meet the learning standards set by the district that coordinates with students and parents regarding developmental levels. School administrators must collaborate with district personnel on the age-appropriate standards for early childhood students.
Effectiveness of Collaboration Efforts
District personnel must maintain close communication with school administrators and classroom teachers who work with students on a daily basis to determine learning standards. Classroom teachers are the first educational professionals to observe regular student needs, accomplishments, and achievements. They know how young students develop and at what ages they are able to accomplish developmental goals. When district leaders and curriculum developers are too far removed from the reality of student needs and classroom environments, they have unhealthy views of child development; therefore, do not assign the proper standards to the correct age level.
Improving Collaboration Efforts
To improve collaboration efforts between district leaders and school personnel, the district must form a team for school success to study student needs and child development. They must include classroom teachers, school administrators, and parents with children from the area schools, community and business leaders, and even student leaders themselves. The collaborative team can study student needs, interests, and levels of development on a continuous basis to maintain an understanding over a period of time. Society and culture changes quickly and student interests change with time. Learning standards and child development must be evaluated and assessed often to determine teaching areas in schools and classrooms.
Collaboration to Promote Student Success
Students can be successful in school and in life skills when all stakeholders collaborate with one another to create learning environments that promote student success. When stakeholders work together as a team with student interests in mind, they easily remember teaching purposes and philosophies. When stakeholders begin competing with one another, they lose the focus of education and student learning. They must remember the reasons for teaching and work together to promote student learning and development to lead to lifelong learning and success.
Lanich, Laurene A.. University of Northern Iowa, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2009. 3392895.
Ho, Wenyi. The Pennsylvania State University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2008. 3325922.