Professional Context- Crossing Boundaries

Reflecting on my interdisciplinary connections, many of my online connections have developed through my Mindlab study but also through some of the professional development that I have undertaken this year (Flipcon, NZCER games for learning, uLearn17). These connections reflect the way technology can enhance and transform the learning and collaboration of educators. Through the people I have met and educational speakers I have listened too, I have been introduced to new tools to connect with others. such as following #edchatnz on twitter.

Andrews (1990) defines interdisciplinary collaboration as occurring “when different professionals, possessing unique knowledge, skills, organizational perspectives, and personal attributes, engage in coordinated problem solving for a common purpose” (cited in Berg-Weger &. Schneider, 1998). As a staff I think this is something we do well.

It has been awesome to see the connections our learners (and educators) have made within our local and wider community through their passion projects. Our learners choose an area of interest and connect with people, places and tools to develop their understanding of this area further. Many of our learners are getting to experience the knowledge of experts outside of what we could offer them in the classroom e.g. building a mud kitchen for the playground with the Men Shed, learning to make sushi with a local catering company or connecting with specialist educators at Victory University to learn about diseases or at the local Intermediate to learn to sew. This allows an interdisciplinary approach not only through integration of curriculum areas but also through the varied range of experts our learner have access to.

However a future goal would be to make these connections reciprocal by supporting our learners to become more active members of their local community. Our overarching learning theme this year has been ‘we are respectful of ourselves, each other and the environment’. Although some of our learning has looked more globally e.g. our impact on the environment, our actions have mainly focused on improving our school environment. A challenge for us is how we can develop our local connections.

When learning about hauora, the acts of giving and participating were mentioned as having a positive impact on wellbeing. It would be great to look at how we could combine entrepreneurship, design thinking and innovation to contribute to our local community. This would involve our learners connecting with groups outside of the community to explore they ways they could support them in their endeavors. Mulligan et al (2015) stated that it can be difficult to begin or sustain interdisciplinary and collaborative partnerships and have suggested that workplace conditions, qualities and attitudes as well as common goals  can lead to successful interdisciplinary collaboration. Embarking on a project like this we would need the support, expertise and knowledge of our school staff and parent community to help our learners achieve their goals.

Resources

Mulligan, L. M., & Kuban, A. J. . (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration

American Association of Colleges of Nursing.(2016). Interdisciplinary Education and Practice. Retrieved fromhttp://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/interdisciplinary-education-and-practice

Berg-Weger, M., &. Schneider, F. D. (1998). Interdisciplinary collaboration in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 34, 97-107.

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