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Ashfield Public School

Ashfield Public School

Every child, every opportunity

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Collaborative Classrooms

Collaborative Classrooms is a research-informed approach to inclusive education that is used at Ashfield Public School to engage the diversity and complexity of student ability and background.

Collaborative Classrooms uses a team-teaching approach, with the teacher of Support Unit Class and a teacher from a Mainstream Class working together. In partnership and focused on continual professional improvement, these teachers develop their knowledge of what works best as they co-create well-designed teaching programs and lessons, develop teaching practices and make resources that engage the wide range of diversity and complexity of learners.

As a team-teaching environment, Collaborative Classrooms increases the opportunity for flexible teaching strategies. For example, having two teachers within the one learning space increases the opportunity to support individual students, including high achieving students, through small-group and one-to-one interventions.  While one teacher works with the larger group, the other teacher focuses supporting the individual or the smaller group to achieve a specific learning goal.

Collaborative Classrooms also enables students with disability to access and participate in their learning alongside students in the Mainstream Class by providing the opportunity to develop the skills of communication and cooperation within a rich social setting. For children who do not experience disability, research shows that learning in a Collaborative Classroom results in more advanced social skills including a more positive sense of self and self-worth.

Collaborative Classrooms has enabled the establishment of a flexible learning space to connect and engage students in their learning. Based on the work of Professor David Thornberg, each Collaborative Classroom is laid out with four designated zones:

Cave: The cave is a space where students work independently to complete tasks. They can reframe ideas gathered from interaction with other students and stay focused on their reading, problem solving and research.

Plains: The plains is a space where students work in small groups to complete tasks. They are encouraged to discuss, collaborate and share ideas.

Water Hole: The water hole is a space where the whole group meets to receive instructions, discuss the topic and view stimulus to gather information about the topic.

Camp Fire: The camp fire is a space for guided teaching where individual or small groups meet for Small-group and one-to-one interventions.

Collaborative Classrooms is informed by the research of Kathy Cologon, a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University and adviser for Ashfield Pubic School. Dr Cologon says that effective education meets each child where they are at, builds on their strengths and interests to move them along, with teachers adapting their teaching style, resources and pace to fit each of them.

Collaborative Classrooms is about increasing our school’s capacity to respond in a targeted manner to the learning and wellbeing needs of all students. It enables us to apply evidence-based and agile teaching practices in innovative, flexible learning spaces to give every child, every opportunity to succeed. 

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