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Day-to-day collaboration

Partnerships and collaboration don’t just happen. They are supported by processes that focus on positive ways of working together and effective, regular communication. They require participants to get to know one another and to work together closely. They take time, and they develop over time. Making time is therefore an important issue for teachers and whānau.

"Mason Durie talks about the domain of time – not about the hands of the clock, but about processes and practices – and comes back to Paulo Friere’s notion of ‘conscientization’, or ‘consciousness raising’. Because if what’s in people heads is ‘We don’t have time to do this’, then guess what? We won’t get time to do it."

Academic, project interview, 2013

The core group in Figure 3 – the teacher, the student, and the whānau – work closely together day to day. They take time to agree on how they will work together, including how a teacher’s aide may work with teacher direction to support the student in the class. They talk about what is coming up in the class and school programme and who will ensure everything is in place on the day. Taking time to work on the detail means day-to-day processes and activities are more likely to run smoothly.

For the class trip outlined below, Sam and his mum help make the plan with the class teacher and teacher’s aide (Outreach teacher, project interview, 2013). They take time to plan the detail, which means that Sam can be fully involved in the activity.

A year-3 class is planning to do a three-park walk and to take a train ride back. For one of the students in the class, Sam, the walk is too far. He needs help with going to the toilet. So Sam walks to the first park with the other kids. He is driven back to school to go to the toilet and then catches up with the others at the second park. He has lunch, walks round the park, and catches the train with the others.

Sam has a great day and produces some excellent response work back at school. His mother goes on this trip and gains confidence that the teacher is well organised and has her finger on the needs of her son. The day goes well because of the willingness shown by all who are involved.

Working together day to day requires regular, effective communication to ensure every student can participate in learning. Sometimes this will be a challenge. There can be pressure to plan ahead as well as keeping up with a myriad of everyday tasks. With the constraints of busy schedules, people will sometimes forget to communicate regularly. A foundation of strong relationships will mean that when things do go wrong, people understand and work together to manage on the day.


In Example 6, a teacher collaborates with a speech language therapist and occupational therapist about a student’s programme and demonstrates strategies for the teacher’s aide during a mathematics lesson.

Next – Perspectives of whānau

Published on: 19 May 2015