Cooperating or Collaborating?

I love when things line up in my world to teach me.  Here is one such story:

One of my favorite thought partners asked this question of a group, “Who are your favorite people to collaborate with?”  The night before, I was reading Better Learning Through Structured Teaching and the thing that stuck with me was the section on cooperative learning versus collaborative learning.  My answer to that question was “Are we really collaborating or are we just cooperating?”

Here is one example in my career when I was cooperating instead of collaborating.  I would sit with the other science teacher and talk in generalities what we would do for the following week.  When we left, I wrote the lesson plan and shared the documents with her. Then both of us would go into our respective classroom and teach the material as we saw fit.

Knowing now what I know, I would love to coach my former self and the other science teacher to create a collaborative system to plan and implement the curriculum.  I envision we would not talk about what activities we would use, instead we dig deep in order to understand the standard and how to help students learn it.

I now am asking myself this: “Are we working together or are we creating something together?”  I hope I spend more time creating than working with others.

Thanks my thought partner for pushing me to think deeply daily.



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