Lisa Dovey, year 7–8 team leader at Halswell School, discusses the benefits of collaborative teaching. Her team uses Google Docs and Google Hangouts to support collaborative planning, teaching, and assessment. She explains, "We do a lot of planning together, which is really fantastic. It means that all of our strengths are put together."
I lead a team of four teachers for the year seven and eight team which we call Otematua here in this collaborative space. We do a lot of planning together which is really fantastic, it means that all of our strengths are put together. In collaborating with the four teachers, we often use Google Docs and just recently we’ve been using Google Hangouts as well so that if we’re not at school we can still, if we come up with a great idea we can talk to each other about that as well.
Depending on the subject, we have one weekly plan and from that we’ll link off our individual plans or group plans if two of us are team teaching together. So, we’ve got one overarching assessment doc and in that we put all the assessment for the group that we currently have and so that all the other teachers in our team can access it as well so everyone knows where the children are at.
For reading, I’ll have a group for the term but from that they can actually go to other teachers’ workshops and they do that online using Google Docs. So we’ll have a system where they just sign in to which one they’re going to so we can track who’s gone where. So I have the say, pastoral care, sort of of one group while they can still go to other teachers for what they need. It does mean that here we can really focus on next steps.
In general subjects like maths, the children can opt into workshops that are based on their next learning step. So, the students are using a rubric in maths to self-assess where they need to go next so that they can sign themselves into a workshop.
So, I would say we’ve become a lot more flexible. We’ve needed to be a lot more collaborative in our planning and teaching but the actual direct teaching has not changed a huge amount except for the fact that these days the children have a lot more choice in the activities that they might choose to follow up that. And also some of it’s directed by the children. So if they’ve said they want to learn about a particular thing, we’ll try and fit it in.