Learning by teaching is one of the most effective ways to develop yourself personally and professionally. And this is not only true for students. Creating an atmosphere of collaboration among teachers, mentoring and exchange of experiences helps to have a more cohesive and strong team.
The benefits go beyond just maintaining a good organizational environment among the school staff. The quality of education is enhanced by the collaboration between teachers, with high performance professionals who constantly challenge themselves to go further. In the following post, we present some simple measures that can be adopted in practice to create a more collaborative environment at school. Check them out!
Ways to stimulate collaboration among teachers
Align expectations with a management framework
The collaboration between teachers is closely linked to the alignment of expectations – in fact, in all other professions. Therefore, keeping the goals and details of the management and the current team always in sight can help a lot.
On the board, specify the Vision, Mission, Values of the school, goals and time in the long, short and medium terms – as well as the status of fulfillment of each one – and the role of each professional or team in each of these strategic objectives. The board can also be a tool to guide management meetings. It can be used to clarify what is expected from each one and how far the limits of each teacher’s performance go. This way, they are more likely to feel more secure about their individual roles and their contribution to the whole, being also more likely to collaborate with colleagues.
Transposing knowledge and exchanging professional experiences are the main purposes of a mentoring process, which is why it is so important to stimulate collaboration among teachers. In a more or less systematic way, mentoring can occur in structured meetings or informal meetings. Always with the purpose of speaking and listening to each other’s point of view on certain subjects, taking a practical and applicable view to the routine of professional practice.
And make no mistake: Mentoring does not need to be carried out only among professionals with more experience and professionals with less experience. The practice, besides stimulating collaboration among teachers, can contribute to encourage the team to develop new skills. As an example, we have: leave your comfort zone or learn new skills that more or less experienced colleagues master. Another benefit is also learning more from the process and implementing it with students, improving the quality of learning at school.
Collaboration between teachers also requires individual efforts. In a professional environment, when we feel threatened, we somehow tend to collaborate less and close ourselves in our own skills and tasks. That is why encouraging the team to look inward, to understand their strengths and weaknesses is so important when it comes to creating a more collaborative environment.
This can be done individually, in groups or with the support of the school’s Psychology team. The most important thing is that the professionals feel more secure in relation to their potential and their abilities. This way they also become more open to contribute to the whole.
Investing in co-teaching
Having two or more teachers inside the classroom or at the head of the same subject is a tendency that contributes to classes becoming more dynamic, creative and instigating. The practice is very common in special education, but it has increasingly gained regular teaching.
Although it requires a little more work in class planning, the co-teaching is a great opportunity to stimulate transparent and honest communication within the team, opening doors for collaboration among teachers beyond simultaneous presence in class.
Activities where professionals get involved in solving problems in the school and in the school community in general are also great ways to stimulate collaboration among teachers. And create a more innovative team.
These co-creation dynamics are basically activities in which a multidisciplinary team meets with the intention of thinking of solutions together to a common problem. In addition to powerful brainstorming tools, they contribute to the active participation of each professional in school management issues or in debates related to improving the quality of teaching. Whether through Design Thinking, Design Sprint or other less structured activities, betting on co-creation will certainly keep the team more engaged and the school in constant movement towards continuous improvement of its processes.
Do you know another way, besides the collaboration between teachers, to invest in the quality of life and good work environment inside the school? By prioritizing the mental health of your team. Find out, on this post, how to take care of the school professionals, especially in difficult times like the ones we are currently living.