Collaborative Behaviors

Chapter 9

Big image

Ten Collaborative Behaviors and Skills

1. Clarifying: Identify the problem as seen by the teacher.
  • Probe for the underlying problem / get additional information.
  • Guide the teacher to reframe the problem.
  • Clarifying is done to help the teacher further identify, not solve the problem.
  • Avoid asking questions that are solutions.
  • "Please tell me what is bothering you?" or "Explain to me what you see is the greatest concern?"

2. Listening: Attend carefully to understand the teacher's perception.

  • Wait until the teacher's initial statement is made
  • Understand what the teacher is saying
  • Avoid thinking about how you see the problem.

3. Reflecting: Verify the teacher's perception.

  • Verbalize your understanding of the initial problem.
  • Capture what the teacher is saying.
  • Do not offer your opinion.
  • "I understand that you see the problem as...Is this accurate?

4. Presenting: Provide the supervisor's point of view.

  • Supervisor now moves in and becomes a part of the decision-making process.
  • Supervisor gives own point of view about the difficulty and states any information that the teacher might not be aware of. (Make sure teacher states his/her position first)
  • "I see the situation this way" or "the problem, as I see, is..."

5. Clarifying: Seek the teacher's understanding of the supervisor's

perception of the the problem.

  • Show willingness to listen further as the teacher begins to identify the real problems.
  • Do not praise the teacher.
  • "Could you repeat what you think I'm saying?"
  • Once the supervisor feels confident that the teacher understands your views - problem solving can begin.

6. Problem Solving: Exchange suggestions of options for solving the problem.

  • If you both know each other and have collaborated before ask "Let's both think about what might be done to improve this situation"
  • Then -Listen to each other's ideas.
  • If you do not know each other very well, STOP the conference for a few minutes and both write down possible actions before speaking.
  • "So we don't influence each other on possible solutions, let's take the next few minutes and write them down."
  • The supervisor has now promoted his/her ideas and these ideas are ready to be discussed.

7. Encouraging: Accept conflict and reassure the teacher that disagreement is acceptable.

  • Show willingness to listen further as the teacher begins to identify the real problems.
  • Do not praise the teacher.
  • Reassure the teacher that disagreement is acceptable.
  • "It appears we have different ideas how to handle this situation".
  • "Remember our agreement-we both have to agree with the solution".

8. Negotiating: Find an acceptable solution.

  • "Where do we agree?"
  • If you find agreement, then the conference proceeds.
  • "Where do we disagree?"
  • "Where do we differ?"
  • If you are not in agreement - take these actions:
a) go back and thoroughly explain your solution - THEN

b) find out how convinced each of you are that your suggestion be chosen.

Ask "How important is it that we do it your way?"

c) Consider a compromise.

Ask "How about if I give up this part of my suggestion and you give up..."

d) See f a totally new idea can be found.

Ask "Since we can't agree, let's see if we can find another solution".

9. Standardizing: Agree on details of a plan.

  • Ask the teacher to set time and criteria for action.
  • "When will this plan be implemented?
  • "Where will it take place?"
  • "Who will help?"

10. Reflecting: Summarize a final plan.

  • Check that both parties agree to the action and details.
  • "Could you repeat what you understand the plan to be?"

When to use Collaborative Behaviors

1. When the teacher or group is functioning at moderate or mixed developmental levels.

2. When the teacher and the supervisor have approximately the same degree of expertise.

3. When the teacher and the supervisor will both be involved in carrying out the decision and both will be held accountable for showing results.

4. When the teacher and the supervisor are both committed to solving the problem.

Issues in Collaborative Supervision

  • Teacher believes a supervisor is manipulating the decision.
  • Teacher believes a supervisor is giving a directive.
  • Teacher believes that he/she will not have a equal say.
  • Supervisor doesn't know if teacher is agreeing or pretending to agree.
  • Teachers don't trust supervisor - probably because they have been mistreated in past.

What the author says about Collaborative Supervision

Collaborative supervision is an excellent mode for the majority of teachers. If they already have some experience teaching and are very strong in their areas of expertise, this mode is perhaps best. Likewise, this approach is often used when the supervisor and the teacher have roughly equivalent expertise. The supervisor helps the colleague to explore all possible alternatives, yet decisions lie within the responsibility of the teacher, not the supervisor. The supervisor helps to clarify and provide some focus, but the faculty member has ultimate authority and cannot be vetoed by the supervisor. As Glickman et al. (1998) posited, ““The purpose of collaboration is to solve problems through a meeting of the minds of equals. True equality is the core of collaboration”” (p. 72). The supervisor would utilize such supervisory behaviors as negotiating, problem solving, and presenting. Again, the ultimate goal is for the teacher to become totally self-directed.


Jim T. Cain

Assistant Principal

Bridgeport Intermediate School

Twitter: fbcoach11