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Collaboration: The Art of Strengthening

[Investigating the truth of opinions] consists not in trying to discover the weakness of what is said, but in bringing out its real strength. It is not the art of arguing but the art of thinking... the art of strengthening.
(Gadamer, 1975)


Although there is substantial research supporting collaborative practices in school environments, definitions of the term vary widely. Most often, collaboration in schools remains limited to sharing resources or co-planning. A significantly prohibitive factor in allowing teachers to achieve mutually valuable, collaborative relationships are the perceived or established imbalances of power. Traditionally, collaborative arrangements implicitly assign authority to one member of a team or partnership over another (Awaya et al., 2003; Hellsten, Prytula, Ebanks, & Lai, 2009). Our journey this year has painted a picture of how re-thinking this historic relationship has the potential to allow for a more powerful collaborative relationship to develop, transforming teaching and learning in the classroom.

Instructional Leadership - Challenges and Opportunities

-by Garry McKinnon, Superintendent

In my first blog on instructional leadership, I described the ultimate goal of positively impacting the quality of teaching and the learning experiences of the students. I also observed that to be effective as an instructional leader one needs to have a clear idea of what it looks like. I suggested that in addition to making reference to the Alberta Teaching Quality Standard knowledge, skills and attributes of effective teaching, it is highly desirable for the members of the school community (teachers, students, parents and school administrators) to engage in a process of articulating descriptors of exemplary teaching.

Learning Coaches Networking Day: Creating Pedagogical Partnerships

On August 31, 2012 the Calgary Science School hosted a networking/PD event for Learning Coaches. The purpose of the session was to bring together Learning Coaches and Instructional Leaders from a variety of schools and districts to discuss the role and explore best practices and skills as we strive to support enhanced teacher learning. We also hope to build a supportive network of learning leaders in Calgary, and the surrounding area, who can develop materials, structures, and supports for the role.