Rod McNeill, Antoinette Wilson and I attended a conference on teacher collaboration with international expert Andy Hargreaves.
Teacher Collaboration is the idea that when teachers get together to share their experiences, ideas and constructive criticism in respectful ‘professional learning teams’ (PLTs) teacher effectiveness increases and student learning outcomes are improved.
This was echoed this morning on my drive to work while listening to ABC 720 news. New research by Blaise Joseph from the Centre for Independent Studies has found that the best performing disadvantaged schools have several things in common: Stable school leadership, a safe, orderly and positive school culture and teacher collaboration. This is important research as it reveals even schools with socio-economic disadvantage can have excellent student learning outcomes if the school culture is right.
I was pleased to note, upon networking with school leaders from across Perth’s metro area and beyond that MCC’s culture of teacher collaboration is a leading example of best practice. Our teachers meet fortnightly in PLTs to solve problems, improve learning outcomes and critique each other’s practice. They often teach together in our Maxi classes and spend time writing curriculum, lessons, assessments and marking rubrics as a team.
One thing we are taught from scripture is that the Christian church works best when it works together as a body, with each part doing its bit. For us, Jesus Christ is the head of the body. His call to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’ is motivation to improving our teaching practice. It is also a motivating force behind the school culture we want to foster. In the wake of the tragedy in Christchurch and ongoing global conflicts – we would do well to take the words of Jesus to heart:
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
We can rightly order our lives by following these two commandments of Jesus, but we aren’t there yet –we need each other to grow and develop. That’s why we are a college we want to be collegial.
Our school pastoral team is on hand for students if they would like someone to talk to about recent tragic events, or anything else going on in their lives. We encourage students and parents to speak to each other about these things and reach out for school support if you have the need.
Mr David Elsing (Head of Secondary)