Are we confusing collaboration with sharing and conversation?

Posted: August 22, 2011 in Education, Leadership, Reflection

What does collaboration mean to you? This is a question that I have spent a few weeks contemplating. The reason for this started with a statement that a colleague made several weeks ago and has continued with reading some very interesting blog postings on similar topics. The statement started this though was by far the most profound. It occurred at the conclusion of a long day of working with a project team developing new resources for the assistance of other educators and was:

I wish some teachers within my school could have witnessed the work we did today to understand the difference between collaboration and sharing. We truly collaborated…”

As you can imagine this sparked a great conversation between us as we walked to the station to get our trains home.

The above event occurred about 5 weeks ago and since then I have continually found myself reflecting upon our experience as well as of how I have worked in teams or as a colleague or mentor to others in the past. One of the statistics I have read a few times since is that under the guise of working on collaborative projects only about 5% actually collaborate. The other 95% divide the work (sharing), converse about it, distribute content or just wish to trade tips and tricks to complete things quickly.

Where does this take us though? I propose that with the future developments of the National Curriculum and the inclusion of the General Capabilities and Teaching Standards we should all work on our skills to collaborate. The future of education may bring great things to those that are willing to truly collaborate and not just trade.

  1. […] viewed as working together towards a common goal.  One might very well ask, as @T_Milkins had, “Are we confusing collaboration with sharing and conversation?”   I could add to that “group work” as well. courtesy of […]


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