8.1 Relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation. Many factors contribute to cooperative relationships among teachers. Clear and frequent communication, responding to requests in a timely manner, and sharing teaching resources and information are among them. One important way to cooperate with colleagues and support student success is by keeping accurate and organized assessment records, so that as students move across grade levels teachers know what type of modification, scaffolding and enrichment they will need to provide for incoming classes.
Figure 1 portrays a concrete description of Professional Standard 3.1 that I wrote for an assignment in Edu 6918, Introduction to Teaching. The description specifically addresses one way in which teachers can demonstrate knowledge of students. It also serves as an example of how good record-keeping enables professional cooperation. I suggested, “when the teacher has finished grading a set of papers, the teacher can record brief summaries of written comments on student papers in a file.” Sharing these files with the next grade-level teachers would allow colleagues to note writing issues the teacher worked on over the past year and writing skills next year’s teachers will need to build on or address for their incoming students. Such files also provide continuity in vocabulary used to teach writing concepts.
Sharing information on student’s past skills and progress supports student learning as well as professional cooperation. Donovan, Bransford & James (1999) identify three research findings with important implications for classroom practice: “Teachers must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their students bring with them” (p. 15) By providing summaries of teacher feedback on papers, a teacher allows colleagues to effectively draw out and work with their students’ preexisting writing skills.
One specific change that I need to make in my own teaching practice is to develop an easily shared electronic system for tracking my assessment feedback. Because I have experience tutoring, I know the importance of maintaining careful notes on aspects of student writing that require extra development, modification, or scaffolding, Digital files will better facilitate accurate and manageable transference of feedback on student writing for large classrooms and across grade levels.
Reference: Donovan, Bransford & James, ed. (1999). Ch.2 in How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Washington, D.C.: Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, National Research Council, National Academy Press.