Activity 7 -My interdisciplinary connection map

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Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi
With red and black the work will be complete

My Interdisciplinary Connections Map – No wonder life seems overwhelming sometimes!

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Having completed my map I am still buzzing with all the connections I have with experts in such a wide variety of disciplines. It reminds me that as teachers we don’t need to be experts in everything!

I have chosen to focus on developing the connection within my collaborative teaching team – as the team members are changing next year. We just found this out earlier this week, so it’s an exciting time for us!

This year I have been teaching for the first time using modern learning practice. My collaborative teaching partner and I have been teaching across two classroom spaces. We have had some successes, some failures and a lot of fun and learning along the way – for us as well as our students! Over the Christmas holidays our building is being made over into a fully functioning MLE (eeeeeek exciting!!) I will be working with a new teacher who is really passionate about sustainability and the environment. This is not something that I am an expert on so there will be much opportunity for learning. In turn I will be able to share my expertise in digital / BYOD teaching practice.

I think it’s essential that we start planning for next year straight away, however as always life as a teacher is jam packed! This assignment is due on Tuesday with reports being due the following Monday. I think a reasonable goal is to meet in the week following the report due date to begin our planning for next year. Regular planning prior to the commencement of the year will be essential to enable a smooth transition into the new MLE with new staff connections being made as well.

At this stage it is unclear what planning will look like, however we are very lucky that we have a forward thinking Principal who has decided to give us two hours / week during normal teaching time to assist us with our collaborative planning. At this stage we have not made any decisions as to whether we will work as a power of four or two powers of two. At our next teacher only day we intend on undertaking some personality testing to see if this will help us decide, following this we will draw up our collaborative contracts which will hopefully make the planning, goal setting and decision making process more clear.

Benefits:

The main benefit I can see for next year is communication. Working in an MLE gives teachers the opportunity to communicate more about their daily practice. When we plan, implement and reflect together we gain others insight into our practice and can also give insight to others. We gain from others expertise while also sharing and developing our own. Students also benefit from this as they are taught by a range of teachers with a range of expertise and personalities. Students are given opportunities to engage in and with a wider variety of content “students become more involved in their learning and teachers work towards eliminating disciplines. Students ‘learn how to learn’ and develop lifelong learning skills.” (Duerr, 2008, p.177)

Challenges:

The main challenge I can see at this stage is that we don’t have a clear plan on how this will work. We need to develop a range of systems to ensure success of the MLE. As a team we need to have a clear understanding of the purpose and benefits of the MLE so that we can share this with students and parents. Some parents are apprehensive about the change. Their main concerns are noise and knowing who to approach regarding their child. We have passed the noise concerns over to the architect who assures us that everything is in place to eliminate as much noise as possible. During term 1 2017 we will be working on systems to ensure that students and teachers are able to have a good ‘working noise’ level and make best use of the break out spaces available as necessary. It is tricky figuring this all out when we only have a plan for the build and not a physical space as yet. As a team we also need to spend more time together to understand our strengths and how we will work best collaboratively. As a new team this is essential to ensure success for ourselves and our learners. This will take time, which is a precious resource in teaching. It will be essential to have a clear model for interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure success for our team:

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I liked these two graphics from the reading this week and will be sharing them with our team at our teacher only day next week.  I think these two graphics could make a good basis for a shared understanding for our team, which will lead nicely into the creation of our collaborative teaching contract for 2017.

A new year, a new challenge – bring it on!

References:

ACRLog. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing.(2016). Interdisciplinary Education and Practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/interdisciplinary-education-and-practice

Berg-Weger, M., &. Schneider, F. D. (1998). Interdisciplinary collaboration in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 34, 97-107.

Duerr, Laura., 2008. “Interdisciplinary Instruction, Educational Horizons.”http://www.eric.ed.govt/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content storage 01/0000019b/80/3e/Oc/3a.pdf

Hardré, P. L., Ling, C., Shehab, R. L., Nanny, M. A., Nollert, M. U., Refai, H., … & Wollega, E. D. (2013). Teachers in an Interdisciplinary Learning Community Engaging, Integrating, and Strengthening K-12 Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 409-425.

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