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Running Head: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION 1

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Hannah Hopper

Regent University

In partial fulfillment of UED 495 Field Experience ePortfolio, Spring 2017


EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION 2

Introduction

Teaching is far more than creating lesson plans, inputting grades, and educating the next

generation to become successful citizens in society. Although these are important aspects,

educators play many roles both inside the classroom and outside of the classroom. One vital

component of an effective educator is the ability to communicate and collaborate with others.

The first thing a teacher must realize is behind every student is a unique background and story,

which ultimately impacts how he or she learn and perform in school. In order to reach students

and lead them towards their potential, an educator must connect and communicate with students

background. This involves taking the time to communicate with the guardians of each student, as

well as, utilizing the resources and other staff members available. The African proverb, It takes

a village to raise a child is extremely true, especially when looking at a childs education. In

order to see success in a student, teachers, parents, community members, and other staff

members must come together and unite under the banner of supporting and doing what is in the

best interest of the child.

Rationale for Selection of Artifacts

The first artifact I selected is an introductory letter I created and sent home with the

students during my first week of student teaching. I knew that this was going to be an adjustment

and transition for me, but as well for the students and parents. I chose to write a letter to the

parents so they would become informed on the new and exciting change in their childs

classroom. I wanted the parents to know some details about myself before I was interacting and

teaching their children on a regular basis. I wanted the parents to feel included in this experience

and also provide a platform to share my heart for teaching and love for children. I chose to send

this letter home with the students to initiate the first action in communicating with the parents in
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a positive way before I would possibly have to contact the parents for a more difficult

conversation. My desire was to set the tone for my student teaching experience by inviting the

parents to contact me about questions or concerns, and provide my contact information

immediately for the parents to have.

The second artifact I chose for this competency were the notes I created for a parent-

teacher conference. This was a conference I was present for and participated in during my first

few weeks of student teaching. This conference was suggested and arranged by my cooperating

teacher to discuss some concerns with a particular girl in the classroom. This young girl had

shown multiple signs of lack of focus and was beginning to digress in her academics. This

artifact highlights what was discussed during the conference, as well as the solutions offered

during the conference. This experience was both eye opening and valuable, as I was able to

participate in communicating and collaborating with a parent. I was able to appreciate the

partnership that is found between teachers and parents when they come together to speak about

how to foster the best learning environment for a child. As an educator, it is important to be

mindful and sensitive of the parents emotions during this time. When conferencing about

concerns, teachers need to speak in a compassionate manner, which communicates their genuine

heart to help the child succeed.

Reflection on Theory and Practice

One of the most frequent discussions in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at Regent

University is the importance of building and stewarding relationships. These relationships extend

to the students, parents, and other colleagues. No matter what type of relationship it is, each one

deserves equal amount of respect and grace when handling difficult situations. Students need to

be treated and spoken to in a life-giving way that is not degrading or condescending because of
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their age. The same approach is valid for parents and colleagues. One of the most valuable

lessons I have learned while at Regent is to invest in getting to know people and understand their

story. By showing people sincere care, trust and respect will be earned and opinions will be

received better when communicating. According to an article by the American Federation of

Teachers it says, Parents develop a greater appreciation for the important role they play in their

childrens education when teachers are intentional about relationship building and displaying

the value in education (2007).

Another important component of teaching is collaborating with other colleagues.

Educators must be humble enough to lay themselves down and understand they cannot do it all.

It is actually a sign of strength to call on others and utilize resources that can benefit a child.

Collaborating is not just about gathering to express ones thoughts and ideas though. It involves

listening to the ideas of others and seeking to understand them. Communicating is not solely

about talking. It involves equal talking and listening. In Strategies for Successful Student

Teaching, it provides an activity to promote collaborative problem solving. This activity is

beneficial and practical because it offers a visual for how to discuss problems but not end with

the problem unresolved (Radford, 2013, p.70-71). One important piece for collaborating with

other colleagues is being apart of the solution. Instead of creating a list of all the problems, it is

necessary to bring answers and offer possibilities to resolve these conflicts. When this occurs,

there is a change in attitude and an added hope. This type of thinking is contagious and can truly

create a culture in the building, which can then extend to the homes of the children. At the end of

the day, this profession deals with people. I personally hold a strong conviction that peoples

lives matter; therefore, the manner in which I speak, respond, and act towards students, parents,

and other colleagues will dramatically impact how effective I am as a teacher.


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References

Building Parent-Teacher Relationships. (2007). American Federation of Teachers. Retrieved February

04, 2017, from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/building-parent-teacher-relationships.

Radford, C. P. (2013). Strategies for Successful Student Teaching: A Guide to Student Teaching, the Job

Search, and Your First Classroom. Boston: Pearson.