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Classroom Collaboration

April 6, 2014

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As Sharon Phelan and I were preparing for a senior exhibition oral this past week, it occurred to me how many different ways we collaborate as a faculty. The ability to collaborate is one of the key skills we look for in new faculty; it is a central habit we want to cultivate in our students; a residential school depends on students, adults, parents and alumni to foster and nourish community.

Here are just a few of the many examples of faculty collaboration taking place right now on campus:

  • Senior English exhibitions
  • Senior Spring tutorials: Elizabeth Roach and Eric Finch’s “Game Theory”; Joshua Meier and Harvey Johnson’s “Nature of Beauty”; Whiz Hutchinson and Pam Brownlee’s “Healthy Approaches to College”; Peter Hoopes and Seraphine Hamilton’s “Screenwriting”
  • Elizabeth Roach and Emily Pressman’s Humanities class; the Intro to the Arts class; the Great Books history class; some of the Problem Solving sections
  • Most sports teams have two coaches
  • dorm teams
  • lunch tables
  • department meetings and section meetings
  • recent school trips to Harpers Ferry, Nicaragua and Haiti are all collaborative
  • as advisors, we depend on the help, insights and perspectives of our colleagues
  • faculty meetings, Global Online discussions in March, ITC meetings let us collaborate, share, exchange
  • Our Friday chapel happened through the combined efforts of chaplains, teachers, choral director, students and dining services
  • Grandparents Day was a collaborative event put on by the advancement office, Facilities, the kitchen and many faculty
  • Visit Back Days happen only through the entire school community working together
  • During Arts Weekend, the Choral Scholars and Members of Dance and Chamber Ensembles will perform “Dido and Aeneas, An Opera in Three Acts” by Henry Purcell

It’s crucial we recognize how vital such collaboration is to our daily work as teachers and colleagues. While most of us teach by ourselves, we discuss and learn from fellow teachers, and we depend on our colleagues to achieve almost everything else we do.

This coming week, and throughout the spring, I urge us all to find new ways to collaborate with colleagues, and to hold sacred the many cables that connect us in our service to our students.

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