This section provides portraits of teachers who have experimented with collaborative practices in Australia.
For more information, read this article by Minh Hue Nguyen (2021).

Anne and Jane

Anne is a science teacher and Jane is an EFL teacher at a secondary school that takes in refugee students in Australia.

“We discuss what will be taught before the lesson. Anne often shows me the worksheets or whatever she’s going to do. And if it looks like it’s vocab there that the kids won’t understand; it might be a simple instruction; within that instruction, there might be words the kids don’t understand, we will annotate on top in simpler writing. Anne will go through it, write the meanings of the other words on the board as we’re going through, explaining the worksheet.” (Jane)

Thanks to the preparatory work done before the lesson, Jane was able to identify the linguistic elements that might pose difficulties for the refugee students, and prepare additional explanations or pre-teaching. She was also able to annotate the science lesson materials and Anne herself was able to use them to teach these language elements explicitly to the students.

Minh Hue Nguyen also notes that the data show that both teachers initiated their collaborative activities equally, a characteristic of effective collaboration reported in the literature (Bell & Baecher, 2012; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2015, 2019). They plan learning and develop resources together. Anne, the science expert, has made a habit of showing her lesson plans to Jane, the literacy expert.

Jane and Anne have also worked together to provide formative assessment with the Kahoot application to students in science class.

“So with a Kahoot, as Anne was teaching, using the periodic table, explaining the groups and the periods and whatever, a lot of the knowledge that she was giving the students, I was typing up Kahoot questions. Um and then I showed her the Kahoot, and said, ‘Does this make sense?’ because I’m not a science teacher. ‘Are there any other questions we can add?’ So we sat together, looked at the questions and she would say, ‘Get rid of that one; um, let’s add this one’. So, I started off with the bone skeleton, then we sat together. We discussed what other information, and what other questions can be added. [….] And then in the classroom, the first time because Anne hadn’t seen the Kahoot, I ran it. I showed her how it works and the kids had used it already so they knew.” (Jane)

This collaborative practice shows the high degree of involvement of both teachers in the assessment process.

Do these portraits inspire you? How can you communicate with your colleagues about your students, their needs, and their skills?