May your Christmas season be blessed with peaceful reflection and time with loved ones. This issue of Today’s Catholic Teacher focuses on collaboration. Ultimately, our work as teachers is filled with joint efforts with fellow teachers, administrators, parents, parishioners, and students. The culture of the school plays an influential role in how well members of the school community collaborate. In this issue, Toni Moore shares an article titled “Collective Impact” in which she unpacks the success of a schools’ collective action in positively influencing student achievement.
A collaborative culture may also support students with challenging behavior. As a teacher educator, I have observed the difficulties novice teachers face when students present disruptive behavior. Sr. Pat McCormack highlights the importance of responding to student needs as a means of reducing problematic behavior in her article, “Manage Misbehavior: Four Need-based Behaviors.” She enumerates basic student needs that must be met before productive learning can begin.
Many would argue for co-teaching or team-teaching as the ultimate collaborative teaching experience. Our son Ryan, a fourth-grader, has experienced the positive impact of a team-taught classroom with two teachers and 37 students this academic year. The teaching duo collaborates for most subjects, allowing for additional differentiation for those who need a greater challenge and those who need a bit more support.
Our son has benefited from the enrichment in math while he receives additional support in reading and writing. Mary Mitchell’s article, “We’re in This Together — Finding Co-Teaching Combinations that Work,” highlights the benefits and potential struggles of co-teaching and team-teaching models. The article includes reference to models of co-teaching that vary depending on student need, content, and available resources.
In thinking about shifting culture for improved outcomes, technology can be a supportive tool. Amber Chandler highlights her transition to a paperless classroom in her article, “Using Technology for Collaborative Creativity.” Her goal was to create an equitable educational opportunity for all students by highlighting student strengths and expertise.
This issue also offers Lego-based STEM lessons, Catholic Schools Week guide, Advent Wreath Blessings, and Sunday Scripture activities for all ages. May these articles provide you with renewed spirit and innovation as you consider additional steps for greater collaboration in your school and classroom.
Many blessings this Christmas season,
Dr. Lisa D’Souza
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