Collaboration – The Key to Success

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”  Henry Ford

After all, isn’t ‘success’ what we’re all after?  We want our students to be successful learners.  We want our teaching practice to have successful outcomes.  If we all want the same goal, and are moving in the same direction together then ‘success’, as stated by Henry Ford, should “take care of itself” and be the result we are all aiming for.

Perhaps, the most concise definition of TLC (Teacher Librarian Collaboration) is stated by Montiel-Overall.  Her working definition for TLC for the 21st century is as follows:  “Collaboration is a trusting, working relationship between two or more equal participants involved in shared thinking, shared planning, and shared creation of innovative integrated instruction” (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p. 9).

Carol Brown also states in America’s Most Wanted: teachers who collaborate (2004), that there are several social factors that “affect success in collaboration”:

  • Proactive Team Leader
  • Shared Vision
  • Self-Confidence in Contribution
  • Open Communication
  • Trust and Mutual Respect

These social factors are a reminder that relationships between teachers, teacher-librarians and leadership are of the utmost importance.  Brown also points to external environmental factors that may cause collaborative efforts to breakdown, such as “lack of administrative support, time limitations and rigid schedules” (2004).  The environmental factors that lead to positive collaborative experiences are “scheduled planning meetings, impromptu discussions, administrative support, defined roles and flexible scheduling” (2004).

It all comes back to “moving forward” as Henry Ford so wisely stated.  If we keep placing obstacles along our pathway to success then our goal of creating a “student-centred” (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p. 2) learning environment is greatly hindered.

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