Promoting Student Learning

Encouraging Effective Collaboration

Why Collaboration?

Collaboration is an essential ingredient in promoting student learning. To encourage effective collaboration requires effective classroom management, teacher collaboration, as well as, positive student, family, school, and community relationships.

Each of the following topics help to promote student learning:

Classroom Management

Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. When classroom-management strategies are executed effectively, teachers minimize the behaviors that impede learning for both individual students and groups of students, while maximizing the behaviors that facilitate or enhance learning.Effective classroom-management strategies minimize the behaviors that impede learning for both individual students and groups of students, while maximizing the behaviors that facilitate or enhance learning.


Best Practices


  • Nonverbal Intervention is when teachers establish eye contact or make gestures that let students know they are off-task, not paying attention, or misbehaving. The technique helps teachers efficiently and silently manage student behavior without disrupting a lesson.


  • Entry Routine is a technique in which teachers establish a consistent, daily routine that begins as soon as students enter the classroom—preparing learning materials, making seat assignments, passing in homework, or doing a brief physical “warm-up” activity would all be examples of entry routines. This technique can avoid the disorder and squandered time that can characterize the beginning of a class period.


For more information on Classroom Management please visit the NEA Website.

Teacher Collaboration

Collaborative teaching is an effective way for educators to incorporate the strengths of multiple perspectives from different people, leading them to such a wide-range of teaching methods and strategies that may connect with more student learning preferences due to their unique learning styles. Effective teacher collaboration is fosters student learning as teachers can collaborate using either an informal or formal approaches. Informal approaches may include mentoring teams, peer coaching, or lesson study groups. More formal approaches to teacher collaboration include professional learning communities, action research groups, and co-teaching arrangements (Burden & Byrd, 2013).


Best Practices


  • Make necessary scheduling adjustments and accommodations for meeting collaborations with fellow teachers
  • Be true to receiving and offering feedback--positive and constructive
  • Be open minded when participating in teacher collaboration
  • Assess student learning styles and capabilities to be able to collaborate on instruction according


Best practices include informal approaches and formal approaches in teacher collaborations to foster student learning such as:


Informal:

  • Mentoring teams
  • Peer coaching
  • Lesson study groups


Formal:

  • Professional learning communities
  • Action research groups
  • Co-teaching arrangements


For more information on Teacher Collaboration please visit Helpful Tips on Collaborating with Teachers.

Student Relationships

Having positive and supportive relationships with students helps to promote student learning. Teachers who encourage positive relationships with their students are more apt to provide a better classroom environment conducive to learning. In supporting and building a positive relationship with students, one of the most essential ingredients is trust. To build trust between student and teacher can be quite challenging. That is why, getting to know students on all levels is important. What are students interested in? What do they like? What do they hate? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What type of learning style do students possess? When teachers take an active interest in students and view them as individuals with their own thoughts and feelings, they are more willing to respond positively to classroom instruction.


If trust is an essential ingredient, then communication is the pièce de résistance. A teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with students allows students to learn things at a higher level. It also allows for a deeper understanding between student and teacher. Communication is the foundation of all learning.


The relationship between a teacher and their students is important. In having a supportive, trusting and positive relationship with open communication, it encourages students to become self-directed learners, encourages their desire to learn, and allows students to learn to their highest potential.


Best Practices


  • Get to know your students. When teachers take the time to know their students, the possibilities of creating learning opportunities where students can make positive connections are endless.


  • Give positive feedback. Giving positive as well as meaningful feedback to students shows that you care about them and their learning. It also allows students to learn to their maximum potential as well as encourages desired learning outcomes.


  • Make learning fun. When students are able to make real-life connections to the lessons teachers present, it makes learning fun and encourages students to want to learn more. When teachers provide an enjoyable classroom environment, students feel free to be more creative, to develop their critical thinking skills, as well as increase productivity.


For more information on building positive teacher-student relationships, please visit Helpful Tips on Building Positive Student Relationships.

Family Relationships

Involving Parents and Frequent Parent Communication


Letting parents know that they are valued and acknowledging their time constraints and family obligations are other key elements of school climates that are conducive to family involvement. But families may not become involved if they do not feel that the schools social and educational atmosphere is one that makes them feel welcomed, respected, trusted, heard, and needed. When schools create a positive climate by reaching out to families and providing structures for them to become involved, the result is an effective school-family relationship. Such partnerships connect family and school to help children succeed in school and in their future.


Phone calls, progress reports, conferences, personal notes, newsletters, and home visits create frequent and positive school-to-home communication, which in-turn, helps parents feel more self-confident, more comfortable with the school, and more likely to become involved. Parents are more likely to participate in schools if they receive information from teachers about classroom activities, the progress of their children, and how to work with their children at home. Thinking of the school as an extended family can help to create a positive school climate and even the simple use of language--such as saying "children" instead of "students"--can make a difference in making families feel welcomed and accepted in the school.


Best Practices


  • Teachers/Staff can communicate with families about school programs and student progress to create a two-way communication channel between school and home.


  • Teachers/Staff can involve families with their children's academic learning at home, including goal setting, curriculum-related activities, and homework that enables students to share and discuss interesting tasks with their parents/family.


For more information on building family relationships, please visit the NEA website.

School Relationships

Teachers are able to collaborate with school professionals whom are educationally specialized such as: counselors, psychologists, reading specialists, special education resource teachers and curriculum specialists. Collaborating with school administrators in concern for students in their class, professional development or their involvement in school improvement opportunities.


Best Practices


  • Teachers are able to be apart of a team or committee

  • Teachers can be advocates for the students and address important school issues


For more information on building effective school relationships, please visit the National Education Association website.

Community Relationships

When working together, families, school and communities can successfully make a difference to improve the students learning. In fact the evidence from numerous studies confirm what educators have long known: that the families can be a positive influence on how well their children do in school. In fact families that get involved appears to have a positive effect on the students learning. The longer families stay meaningfully involved in their children’s education, the more likely their children will be successful in school. There are studies that show communities can have a positive impact on the school effectiveness. Through the efforts put forth by the community and the school, positive outcomes can be achieved including the increase in student achievements.


Overall Finding Community Partnership


When community groups and schools develop the educational community partnership, it can have these types of positive results:


  • Upgraded school facilities
  • Improved schools leadership and staffing
  • Higher quality learning programs for students.
  • New resources for after school programs and family supports
  • Increased social and political capital of participants (Henderson, Mapp, 2002).


Developing a powerful and an effective connection between the schools, families and the communities is hard work. Yet time and time again, the studies demonstrate the schools across America are able to go beyond their boundaries to successfully link with families and with the community groups to do better for the educational outcomes of all of the children. Developing a school system and different culture that expects, supports and sustains the families and the communities in order to improve student achievements takes times but it is well worth the investment (Mapp, 2007).


Best Practices


Community Collaboration: When schools collaborate with the community, it strengthens the bond between the two. In turn, students value the community as a learning resource and are able to increase positive learning outcomes.


Communication: Communication is essential. By having open and effective communication between schools and the community, every one is able to take an active role in the education of students.


For more information on community relationships, please visit the following site: A Guide to School-Community Partnerships.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” -Helen Keller

References

Burden, P.R., & Byrd, D.M. (2013). Methods of Effective Teaching: Meeting the Needs of All Students (6th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database


Classroom Management Definition - The Glossary of Education Reform. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/classroom-management/


Henderson, A.T., Map K.L. (2002) a new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family and community connections on student achievement Austin, TX: National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools.