The Collaborative Experience
Collaboration is a complex process that requires effort, intensity, and compromise by everyone involved. The collaboration continuum found in The Collaboration Handbook (p. 22), shows that the process typically begins at its lowest level of intensity with cooperation, then increases in intensity with coordination, and finally reaches its highest level of intensity with collaboration, which requires more risk and investment, along with deeper relationships among participants. This text defines collaboration as “a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve results they are more likely to achieve together than alone” (Winer & Ray, 1994, p. 23).
In your work as an early childhood professional, you will most certainly be asked to not only cooperate and coordinate, but also to collaborate with many different people and groups, including family and community members, colleagues, and local and government agencies and organizations. Take time to consider what you have learned about the rewards and challenges of the collaborative process from this week’s readings and the media segment. Which thoughts and experiences held the most meaning for you? What did you learn? What surprised you? Looking back at past experiences you have had working in collaborative teams or groups, what do you wish you had known then that you know now that could have made the experience more successful or effective?
With these thoughts in mind answer this question:
What commonalties did you see among the positive collaborative experiences discussed by the panel?
What commonalties did you see among the negative experiences?
What knowledge, skills, and dispositions foster effective collaboration? What hinders effective collaboration?
Describe the relationship between collaborative skills and communication skills, and explain how these skills can increase your effectiveness as a professional in the early childhood field.
Based on what you have learned through the media segment as well as your readings, in your own words, write a definition of collaboration.
Winer, M., & Ray, K. (1994). Collaboration handbook: Creating, sustaining, and enjoying the journey. St. Paul, MN: Fieldstone Alliance.
“How Do We Set Forth?” (pp. 21-41
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