Coordinate in Order to Collaborate

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So often as teachers we forget to implement what we know to be true into other areas of our lives. For instance, we know that research shows cooperative learning improves student achievement. But how often do we seek out cooperative learning opportunities for ourselves? While some schools implement Professional Learning Communities, we can consider additional ways to learn with our peers.

Most of us belonged to study groups in college, but do we still look for ways to interact with fellow educators to discuss research articles, books, or videos? Fellow teachers often share excellent advice when we are struggling and can help explain strategies and techniques. We share a common goal of helping students regardless of grade level, school, or district.

Administrators will definitely want to take note of the benefits of providing time for collaboration. It has been shown to increase retention rates of teachers and their satisfaction. When teachers feel support and a shared sense of responsibility, the result is often a higher performing school.

A study done in Pennsylvania showed 6 benefits of teacher collaboration. One example was that teachers were more likely to try something new in their classroom because they felt supported. Teachers became one another’s best resources. As teachers developed, student effort increased.

Teachers should not operate independently!  We need our peers to be a sounding board, to give feedback, and to reflect together. Teachers benefit from this, and the students do, too!

College Credit Connection has developed the Group Facilitator Program to encourage our students to take a professional development course with others and enjoy the benefits of both the flexibility and shared learning. The goal of the Group Facilitator Program is to enhance CCC’s online professional development courses by allowing students to enjoy both the benefits of our self-paced format and cooperative learning! Meet as often as you’d like (face-to-face, virtually, email, Facebook group, etc.) to discuss what you are learning, share ideas of how to apply the content, collaborate on lesson plans and assessments, and reflect.

Have a great story about collaborating with your peers? Share it below!

Why We Need Montessori

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How do children best learn? It’s a question we often ask and continue to research. Montessori education focuses on many of the answers.

Most teachers agree about the effectiveness of kinesthetic learning. Children learn by doing. Whether exploring with their senses or practicing life skills, children in Montessori schools actively learn.

Montessori classrooms encourage cooperative learning with peers. Students benefit from discussions, reciprocal teaching, and working together. Student engagement often increases with the opportunity to work with peers.

Students take charge of their own learning when they are given choice. The freedom to choose where they want to sit, which activity to do, and which topic to explore leads to motivated learners. Teachers might be surprised by how well the students are able to self-assess and master concepts.

But does the Montessori model work for everyone? Does it have the same results regardless of socio-economic status? Researchers believe Montessori education can potentially close the achievement gap! The challenge, however, lies in the availability and accessibility of Montessori schools in low-income areas.

Interested in learning more? Take a Cognitive Engagement course with College Credit Connection and customize it explore all things Montessori. Receive graduate units for reading a book such as Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius and viewing experts like Judi Bauerlein.

What has been your experience with Montessori? Leave a comment below!