Week 31 – Professional Context – Crossing Boundaries

New Zealand has a fairly broad education curriculum and most teachers I know struggle to ensure that they have successfully covered all that is required of them.  It is not rare to hear people commenting that we almost need another hour added to the school day to do all that is required.  The truth is, unless we start to work smarter, that feeling that at minute any of the balls we are juggling is going to fall is not going to go away.  Is an interdisciplinary approach the way to go?  I’m not sure, but I do think it’s worth considering an approach that will encourage our students to view the world around them from many perspectives.

My Current and Potential Interdisciplinary Connections


Who will I have an interdisciplinary connection with?

The most obvious choice for me at this time is to choose the student teacher who will be working in my class in Term 3. While this will most likely only be a short term connection I feel that it has the potential to be extremely beneficial to us both.


Some Potential Benefits

  • Student teacher is able to network with other more experience teachers
  • Student teacher has the opportunity to develop her professional practice
  • I will be able to develop my pedagogy in collaboration with someone who is more up to date with current education theories
  • A new or different perspective on teaching and learning for us both
  • Invigoration of practice and renewed enthusiasm

Some potential challenges

  • Personal Attitudes ~ Unknown at this point
  • Timetable demands
  • Preset goals for student teacher
  • Curriculum demands – Production in Term 3
  • Work/Home balance

ACRLog (2015) describes a conceptual model that could be used to develop this interdisciplinary approach.  Their model asserts that workplace conditions, qualities and attitudes and common goals are the main facets in a successful collaborative partnership.

They suggest that workplace conditions may be out of the collaborators control but that it will still have an impact on the partnership.  It makes sense.  Effective communication can only occur when the conditions are right.  In this particular instance I do not foresee too many issues.  We will be working together daily so their will be plenty of opportunities for communication and there is a space for regular meetings to take place.  Timetabling these meeting may present a challenge as they will have to fit around existing commitments for both parties.

ACRLog (2015) believe that favorable attitudes towards interdisciplinary engagement are easier to control.  I disagree, as I know from personal experience that an initiative can succeed or fail depending on personal qualities and attitudes of those involved.  At this point in time the student teacher is an unknown element to me as we have yet to meet.  I am making an assumption that she will want to collaborate and will do so enthusiastically as she will want to have a successful teaching practicum but this might not be the case.

Common goals will be essential to this collaboration and I think that this will be the easiest to manage although not without its difficulties.  The student teacher will come some set goals that she will be required to meet in order to pass her course.  These must and will be our priority.  The challenge will be to ensure that while meeting these goals, the professional development activities we choose are of benefit to us both.

Reference List

ACRLog. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration

ThomasMcDonaghGroup. ( 2011, May 13). Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDdNzftkIpA

One thought on “Week 31 – Professional Context – Crossing Boundaries

  1. I understand your concern Tracey, regarding the common goal between you and your soon to be student teacher. Like minds can help to smooth the transition of a new relationship. The time having a student teacher in your class can be a breeze or be arduous and painful. A lot of this depends on communicating/understanding the common goal. As a teacher I don’t have to like who I work with, but it certainly helps. Being a professional allows/requires educators to raise above many difference to focus on the common goal, wether that is a curriculum goal or the focus of the tamariki, to perform together in interdisciplinary engagement for the greater good. We as humans sometimes forget this and when this happens communication can break down and the common goal is lost.


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