Planning for Instruction: Benefits and Obstacles of Collaboration
Teaching is the product of many skills and strategies. Effective planning makes learning purposeful and is central to and an essential element of effective instruction. Short-term and long-term planning provide a scaffold from which selecting goals and developing activities and assignments that connect, expand, and extend identified knowledge, skills, and attitudes. In this paper, the benefits of planning collaboratively as it is linked to student achievement are explored along with the recognition that there are distinct impediments which frustrate and disrupt the ability to successfully accomplish this process. Many teachers may not immediately see the advantages of planning collaboratively. In addition, because the greater majority of teachers plan instruction in isolation, the concept and actualization of planning with others is foreign to their existing skill-sets. This may include initial misconceptions, reservations, or even suspicions about sharing this vital element of good teaching with and among colleagues. Obstacles which thwart collaborative planning will be discussed as well and it will be argued that recognizing these barriers will assist teachers in eliminating or circumventing them to get on with the business of effectively planning for instruction. This paper concludes with reinforcing the connection between effective planning and quality learning and the distinct need to bridge the existing gap between the theoretical constructs of collaborative planning for learning and the practical application of such in the classroom.
Keywords: Collaborative Planning, Planning for Instruction, Lesson Planning, Student Achievement
Dr. Valeri Helterbran
Associate Professor, Department of Professional Studies in Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvanina