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Running head: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION 1

Effective Communication and Collaboration


Kelly Smalley
Regent University

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


EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION 2

Introduction

Communication and collaboration are two vital aspects of teaching. Teachers who

communicate effectively with students, parents or guardians, and other professionals in their

school and community are part of a functional education circle that is transparent and welcoming

to all who are within it. Communication and collaboration work in conjunction; when teachers

communicate their ideas and listen to the ideas of other teachers, administrators, and specialists

through collaboration, they become more successful teachers. Communication and collaboration

are also important in building the relationships that are necessary in a healthy school

environment. Ultimately, students are the ones who benefit from effective communication and

collaboration.

Rationale for Selection of Artifacts

My first artifact is a letter that I sent home to communicate with parents during the first

week of school. As a parent myself, I understood that there could be parents who might have

concerns about a student teacher being in their childs classroom, especially in a high-stakes

grade level, so I wanted to make sure that they knew a little about me as well as reassure them

that Mrs. Kelly would be working closely with me. At open house the following week, Mrs.

Kelly and I emphasized our roles to the parents, and we were able to answer any questions that

they had.

I believe that communication with parents is one of the most important responsibilities of

a teacher, which is why I chose to write the letter. I always appreciated when my childrens

teachers reached out to me at the beginning of the school year and kept open lines of

communication throughout the year, and I plan to do the same with my own students parents. I

know first-hand that effective communication with parents can have an immense impact on
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parental involvement and student achievement, and it also helps to create a positive rapport with

parents if issues with their children need to be addressed.

My second artifact is a set of documents and a page of my personal notes from a

Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting that I attended. The collaborative session,

which included the third-grade team of teachers, the principal, and various specialists, was a way

for the teachers to ask questions, voice concerns, and share ideas; for the principal to share her

vision for the school year; and for the specialists to provide important information, suggestions,

and support. Because an agenda was created the week prior, much was covered in the 90 minutes

of collaboration, and the teachers left feeling that their questions had been answered and were

confident in implementing the ideas that had been discussed. Because PLC meetings are a

weekly event, the teachers immediately began discussing who they would like to meet with and

what topics they would like to discuss at the next meeting.

This artifact shows how collaboration is invaluable for teacher confidence and student

support. The principal made it clear that these meetings are to be a safe place where all ideas are

valued, even if they are not utilized by everyone, which is important because veteran teachers

and new teachers alike have a lot to offer each other. During this first collaboration, most of the

discussion was regarding language arts, which I am still learning about. I left the meeting

knowing what I will need to accomplish with the students in the upcoming weeks as well as with

tools and ideas that will help me when planning. I look forward to learning more about how to

integrate technology into my lessons and share some of what I already know during next weeks

PLC meeting.
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Reflection on Theory and Practices

Communication and collaboration, both of which have been stressed during my

coursework at Regent University, are two important keys to my becoming a successful teacher.

Communication is the foundation for every relationship that I will have as a teacher, which

includes the relationships with my students, their parents or guardians, other teachers, specialists,

administrators, school support staff, and even members of the community. In that sense, good

communication skills are imperative. Effective communication can lead to earning peoples trust

and respect, which can have several positive outcomes: my students will be more willing to work

for me, their parents or guardians will be more willing to support me, coworkers will be more

willing to collaborate with me, and members of the community will be more willing to form

partnerships that provide resources for students. Effective communication and collaboration has

not only been stressed at Regent, it has been modeled for me by my professors and advisors.

Along with having collaboration modeled for me, I have often been expected to

collaborate with my peers on classwork. Because of that, I formed relationships that have

allowed for collaboration during practicums and student-teaching. Many of us have become

sounding boards for each other; we share experiences, ideas, and resources. I have learned how

to appreciate the variety of ideas that different people bring to the table. This is exactly the type

of relationship that I will need to have with my colleagues wherever I end up teaching, especially

as a new teacher. Collaborating is learning, and how I participate in [my] own learning will

depend on the choices [I] make when enriching opportunities, like sharing ideas with other

teachers, are presented (Radford, 2013, p. 6).

According to Kohl, Farris-Berg, and Berry (2016), teachers are pivotal in helping

students to become adept thinkers, collaborators, and communicators, [and] to do that well,
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teachers themselves must be adept collaborators and communicators (p. 4). My coursework at

Regent University has prepared me to be both an effective communicator and an effective

collaborator. There is still much for me to learn, but I feel confident in my abilities to collaborate

and communicate with others, which will aid in my learning process and allow me to help my

students succeed.
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References

Kohl, K., Farris-Berg, K., Berry, B. (2016). Teacher Leadership for 21st-Century Teaching and

Learning. Center for Teaching Quality. Retrieved from https://www.teachingquality.org/

CA_TeacherLeaders

Radford, C.P. (2013). Strategies for Successful Student Teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Artifact 1: Parent Communication

September 7, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,

My name is Kelly Smalley, and I would like to take a moment to introduce


myself. I am an elementary education major at Regent University, and I will be
student teaching in your childs classroom until October 15th. In the past, I have
taught preschool, spent numerous hours as classroom volunteer, helped coach
my childrens sports teams, and substituted in elementary schools in
Summerville, SC and Chesapeake, VA. Those experiences, along with my
education at Regent and my time spent observing amazing teachers like Mrs.
Kelly, have prepared me to work with your children.

This past week, I have been getting to know the students of room 27
they are amazing! With the expertise and guidance of Mrs. Kelly, I have begun
teaching math lessons, and in the upcoming weeks, I will incorporate teaching
language arts, social studies, and science. As a parent, I understand how
important your childrens education is, and I can assure you that Mrs. Kelly and
I will be working closely together so that they receive the very best learning
experience.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or Mrs. Kelly if you have any


questions or concerns. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to meeting
you at open house on September 12th!

Sincerely,

Kelly Smalley
ksmalley@vbschools.com
Artifact 2: Collaboration Notes