Collaboration and Teamwork in the Inclusive School

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Unit 1  Collaborative culture

In this the first module of ESS426 we will map the territory associated with collaboration in inclusive education. You will learn about the culture and skills required for effective collaboration and how to identify those characteristics in a meeting process. We will use readings to identify the characteristics and skills required for effective collaboration. You will read about collaborative concepts and the interpersonal skills (including communication skills) required for collaboration. While for the purpose of clarity we have broken the tasks down into steps, it is most important that you establish the full scope of work in this unit before beginning work on any of the parts.As such, please ensure that you read the entire unit before beginning work on any single task. This will ensure that you make the connections necessary to complete all of the tasks in an integrated fashion.

 

In this first unit you will build Assessment Item 1, Component A for this module – The Readiness Scale. To do so you will read, create and plan. Your first component will include the following:

 

  1. School readiness for collaboration checklist
  2. A rationale for the items on the checklist
  3. An application of the checklist to your own school or setting

 

Your first Assessment Item 1, Component A for the subject is made up of the following activities. In order to help you manage your time and to build your assessment in a logical sequence, we have treated the components as separate parts in the study guide that follows. The advance organiser gives you an overview of the activities.

Task 1

ReadFriend & Cook (2014) Chapter 1 (your text), Foundations and Perspectives.

Your task is to make a list of those key characteristics required of a school if it is to build a collaborative culture and ultimately introduce a collaborative decision making process. At the same time, you should write a brief summary of some of the challenges faced in attempting to engage with collaboration.

When looking at the reading ask these self-questions in order to begin the planning process:

    • What are the defining characteristics of collaboration according to the authors?
    • What other issues and concepts do they discuss that are pertinent to creating a collaborative culture?

Make a list.

Task 2

Read

Reading 1.1.2

Olson, L. M. (2003). Pathways to collaboration. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 11(4), 236-239.

Reading 1.1.3

Sharpe, M. N., & Hawes, M. E. (2003). Collaboration between general and special education: Making it work. Issue Brief, 2(1).

Ask the same questions of these readings:

    • What are the defining characteristics of collaboration according to the authors?
    • What other issues and concepts do they discuss that are pertinent to creating a collaborative culture?
    • Develop your list and cross reference it with the information derived from the text.

Task 3

Read Reading 1.1.5

Smethurst, J. B. (1997). Of practice and pattern language. Journal of Transition Management.

Read Smethurst (1997) with a specific focus on the need for pattern language as a pre-requisite for the creation of a community of practice. This article makes a different point that is frequently overlooked in the collaboration literature. There needs to be some sense of what constitutes professional practice and a common professional language for communities of practice to evolve. What are the implications of this idea for your list? Add any items that are relevant to your list.

Task 4

ReadReading 1.1.4

Conderman, G., Johnston-Rodriguez, S., & Hartman, P. (2009). Communicating and

collaborating in co-taught classrooms. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus 5(5).

    • What do these authors have to say about the importance of collaboration?
    • How does this article reflect what the text and previous readings have said about positive collaborative process and about some of the challenges that may be encountered?

Task 5 (Assessment item 1, Component A)

Condense your list and in doing so identify the ten key items required for creating the foundations of a collaborative culture in the school. We will assume that you are developing a rating scale that includes the following response format:

Most like my School     Like My School     Neither Like or Unlike     Unlike my School     Most Unlike my School

Present your scale on one page with your 10 items in the following response format eg,

  1. Joint planning among teachers occurs on a regular basis

Most like my School     Like My School     Neither Like or Unlike     Unlike my School     Most Unlike my School

Task 6

Now apply the scale to yourself or a school you know of. This means complete the scale as though you were asked to respond as a member of the staff at the school.

Task 7 (Assessment item 1, Component A)

After completing the scale write a 500 word rationale justifying the items you have included on the scale. The rationale should include reference to readings and a related justification.

Assessment item 1 (Component A)

Title: Readiness Scale
Due: See Subject Outline
Length: 1 page completed scale
500 words (not restrictive) rationale
Value: 60% (total for Components A, B & C)
Rationale: This task will help you to focus on the big picture prerequisites required of a school planning to build a collaborative culture. It will also assist you to reflect on the extent to which your current environment or one you are aware of possesses the conditions required for collaboration.
Task: Use your readings and experience to develop a readiness scale for collaboration. Then complete the scale for your school/setting. Write a 500 word rationale justifying the items included. Use the literature to make the justification as well as any reflection that emerged from applying the scale. Provide reference sources for each item.
Content of your response: The response should represent your analysis of the readings and your own personal experience in the field.

NB: A complete marking rubric including assessment criteria and performance standards has been posted to the subject Interact 2 site. The rubric can be used to guide you as you build your product.

Unit 2  Collaborative skills

In this unit we will drill down even further into collaborative process to learn about the attitudes, predispositions and interpersonal skills required for effective collaboration. You will read about the interpersonal skills required to be a successful collaborator. While for the purpose of clarity we have broken the tasks down into steps, it is most important that you establish the full scope of work in this unit before beginning work on any of the parts. As such, please ensure that you read all of the unit before beginning work on any single task. This will ensure that you make the connections necessary to complete all of the tasks in an integrated fashion.

In this second unit you will build Assessment Item 1, Component B for this module – Collaboration Skills Scale. To do so you will read, combine and apply. This component will include the following:

  1. Personal collaboration checklist
  2. A rationale for the items on the checklist
  3. An application of the checklist to you.

Assessment Item 1, Component B for this unit is made up of the following activities. In order to help you manage your time and to build your assessment in a logical sequence, we have treated the components as separate parts in the study guide that follows. The advance organiser gives you an overview of the activities.

Task 1

ReadReading 1.2.1

Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2014). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (7th ed., chap. 2). Pearson Education from your text.

Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2013). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (7th ed., chap. 3 & 4). Pearson Education

Re-read

Reading 1.1.2

Olson, L. M. (2003). Pathways to collaboration. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 11(4), 236-239.

Read Friend & Cook (2014) Chapter 2, Interpersonal Communication. Now read Friend & Cook (2013) Chapters 3, Listening, Responding and Giving Feedback and Chapter 4, Integrating Skills in Interviews (which uses interviews as a means to develop skills in asking questions and making effective statements). Chapters 3 and 4 are not in the current version of the text and are available from e-reserve for this subject. Re-Read Olson (2003), with a focus on the foundations of successful collaboration (p. 238). Your task is to make a list of those key characteristics required of an individual in two areas:

    1. Attitudes and dispositions; and
    2. Skills for collaboration.

When looking at the reading ask these self-questions in order to begin the planning process:

    • What are the defining attitudes and predispositions of a collaborative person according to the authors?
    • What are the defining skills of a collaborative person according to the authors?
    • What other issues and concepts do they discuss that are pertinent to building collaborative skills, attitudes and predispositions?

Make a list.

Task 2

ReadReading 1.2.2

Blue–Banning, M., Summers, J. A., Frankland, C., Lord Nelson, J., & Beegle, G. (2004). Dimensions of family and professional partnerships: Constructive guidelines for collaboration. Exceptional Children, 70(2), 167-184.

Read Blue-Banning, Summers, Frankland, Lord Nelson & Beegle (2004) with a focus on the attitudes and dispositions and skills of successful collaborative partnerships. Use this article to develop your list of those attitudes and dispositions (the six themes) and skills (the related indicators) described in the article.

    • What are the defining attitudes and predispositions of a collaborative person according to the authors?
    • What are the defining skills of a collaborative person according to the authors?
    • What other issues and concepts do they discuss that are pertinent to building collaborative skills, attitudes and predispositions.

Make a list and cross reference it with the information derived from the text.

Task 3

Re-readReading 1.1.5

Smethurst, J. B. (1997). Of practice and pattern language. Journal of Transition Management.

Re-Read Smethurst (1997) with a specific focus on the need for pattern language as a pre-requisite skill for individuals. Add any items to your list that are prompted by this article.

Task 4

ReadReadings 1.2.3

Carter, N., Prater, M., Jackson, A., & Marchant, M. (2009). Educator’s perceptions of collaborative planning processes for students with disabilities. Preventing School Failure, 54,

    • What do these authors indicate is important in terms of skills attitudes and dispositions, particularly in developing effective learning experiences for students?

Task 5 (Assessment item 1, Component B)

We will assume that you are developing a second scale to check the extent to which individuals possess the attitudes and dispositions and skills required for collaboration. Use your list to develop 10 items for each area. This means 10 for attitudes and dispositions and 10 for skills. They are the 20 most critical things an individual teacher needs in order to be an effective collaborator. If the first 10 seem to be similar to the 10 you have developed for the school try and drill them down further to a personal level.

Condense your list and in doing so identify the twenty key items (under the two headings-10 each) required for being an effective collaborator in the school/work setting. We will assume that you are developing a rating scale that includes the following response format:

Most like Me     Like Me     Neither Like or Unlike Me     Unlike Me      Most Unlike Me

Present your scale on one-two pages with your 20 items (10 per area) followed by the above response format eg,

    1. Willing to learn (this is a sample item only for example)

Most like Me     Like Me     Neither Like or Unlike Me     Unlike Me     Most Unlike Me

Now complete the scale. This means complete the scale as though you were asked to respond as a member of the faculty.
After completing the scale write a 1000 word rationale justifying the items you have included on the scale.

Assessment item 1 (Component B)

Title: Collaborative Skill Scale
Due: See Subject Outline
Length: 2 pages completed scale
1000 word rationale for full 20 item scale
Value: 60 % (total for Components A, B & C)
Rationale: This task will help you to focus on the attitudes and dispositions and skills required for effective collaboration. It will also assist you to reflect on the extent to which the people in your current environment or one you are aware of possess the skills and attitudes required for collaboration.
Task: Use your readings and experience to develop an attitudes and disposition and skills scale for collaboration. Then complete the scale for yourself. Write a 1000 word rationale justifying the items included (approximately 500 words for each scale). Use the literature to make the justification.
Content of your response: The response should represent your analysis of the readings and your own personal experience in the field.

NB: A complete marking rubric including assessment criteria and performance standards has been posted to the subject Interact 2 site. The rubric can be used to guide you as you build your product.

Unit 3  Collaborative process

In this unit we will examine collaborative meeting process in order to learn how collaborative groups function. You will read about collaborative process and teams and then apply that knowledge to analyze two collaborative meetings. While for the purpose of clarity we have broken the tasks down into steps, it is most important that you establish the full scope of work in this unit before beginning work on any of the parts. As such, please ensure that you read all of the unit before beginning work on any single task. This will ensure that you make the connections necessary to complete all of the tasks in an integrated fashion.

In this third unit you will build Assessment Item 1, Component C for this module – The Meeting Analysis. To do so you will read, watch, apply and write. Component C will include the following:

  1. Deconstruction of two meetings using your checklists
  2. The development of 2 narratives based upon the application of the scales.

In order to help you manage your time and to build your assessable activity in a logical sequence, we have treated the components as separate parts in the study guide that follows. The advance organiser gives you an overview of the activities.

Task 1

ReadReading 1.3.1

Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2014). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals – International edition. (7th ed., chaps. 5, 6 & 9). Pearson Education from your text.

Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2013). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (7th ed., chap. 4). Pearson Education

Read Friend & Cook (2014) Chapter 3 Interpersonal Problem Solving, Chapter 4, Teams and Chapter 7, Difficult Interactions. Review Friend & Cook (2013) Chapter 4, Integrating Skills in Interviews (e-reserve), with a particular focus on using statements and asking questions. Your task is to consider those skills necessary for collaboration within teams to work.

    • What are the steps in collaborative problem solving?
    • How do teams develop and how is their effectiveness ensured?
    • How can conflict and resistance be addressed?

Task 2

ReadReading 1.3.2

Salisbury, C. L., Evans, I. M., & Palombaro, M. M. (1997). Collaborative problem-solving to promote the inclusion of children with significant disabilities in primary grades. Exceptional Children, 63(2), 195-209.

Reading 1.3.3

Hobbs, T., & Westling, D. L. (1998). Promoting successful inclusion through collaborative problem-solving. Teaching Exceptional Children, 31(1), 12-19.

Read Salisbury, Evans & Palombaro (1997) and Hobbs & Westling (1998). Both of these articles describe successful examples of collaboration that can be used to compare and contrast with the meeting scenarios on the DVD. When looking at the reading, ask these self-questions in order to begin the planning process:

    • What are the essential characteristics of interpersonal problem-solving?
    • What makes a collaborative meeting work?
    • What makes a team work? Link to the ideas about communities of practice.

Task 3

Select and watch two of the three video sequences available from the ‘DVD’ tab available from the tab on the left hand side of the screen on the subject Interact 2 site for this subject.

Task 4

Use your two scales: The Collaborative Attitudes and Dispositions Scale and the Collaborative Skills Scale to rate the two video sequences.

Task 5

Use your scale items and responses to write a 500 word critique of each meeting.  In all cases use your scales as an organizer for your narratives. You may want to cluster similar items on your scales into categories in order to frame the critique around a smaller number of headings.

Assessment item 1 (Component C)

Title: Meeting Analysis
Due: See Subject Outline
Length: 1000 words (2 meeting critiques, each of 500 words)
Value: 60% (total for Components A, B and C)
Rationale: This task will help you to apply your knowledge of collaborative problem-solving into practice.
Task: Analyze two meetings using your collaboration scales.
Content of your response: The response should represent your accumulated knowledge of collaboration from work completed so far and the capacity to synthesize that learning in the completion of an authentic task. Submit your completed scales with your assignment.

NB: A complete marking rubric including assessment criteria and performance standards has been posted to the subject Interact 2 site. The rubric can be used to guide you as you build your product.

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