Partnerships and Collaboration

Partnerships often function like personal relationships because mutual respect and trust between the two parties is created for longevity. It is critical for those involved to be equal contributors and support clear communication of the roles and expectations. According to, the following key elements are critical for successful partnerships:

1. Have the Same Mission and Goals: Long-term planning is vital
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2. Trust is Earned over Time: Be open and honest
3. Both Partners Must Contribute to the Relationship: Be committed to your mission and vision
4. Clear and Constant Communication Leads to Understanding: Keep an open atmosphere and meet regularly
5. Both Partners are in Relationship for Long Haul: Set long-term goals for sustainability
6. Create Culture of Sharing and Collaboration: Always be open to share
7. Mutual Respect is Key: Maintain mutual respect even in disagreements

Partnering with other teachers, leaders, and community members takes a lot of determination and time but the outcomes are very rewarding and everyone involved will experience self-gratification and your passions will be enhanced. There are several programs and resources available to aid in the process so you will not be alone. As stated below, there is valuable start-up information and examples of teachers who have proven to be successful on their journey. Chad Barnett states it best, "Collaborating and sharing ideas....having ideas cultivated...through critical thinking-your voice becomes stronger when your most important principles are supported and challenged."

Dr. Douglas Lambert uses the partnership model to define its value in business but it relates to education as well.


Global Collaboration

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As nations begin to see what works and what does not work in public education, they are opening up and starting to emulate what others are doing due to their success. There are several resources for getting started on a smaller scale such as Global Virtual Classrooms (GVC) and Global Dreamers. Global Virtual Classroom provides free, online educational activities and resources in order to support the goals of governments and educators world-wide. Their vision is to empower, enable and connect students around the world using Internet technology by providing opportunities to develop essential 21st century skills such as cross-cultural communication, collaboration through teamwork, information technology and web design. They also sponsor a web contest, which is a great funding opportunity, for primary and secondary schools. The application is due in late September and the program runs from October to March.

GVC provides the following lists of tips, also known as net-etiquette, or “netiquette” for teachers and students:

GVS also shares the following ideas for school support:
  • Consult. Inform the administrators about the needs of the project and stay educated and up-to-date on the schools' requirements and policies before hand.
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  • Speak up. Create and share a multimedia presentation with partners using real-time chat or video
  • Share the fun. Invite school administrators and district employees to a kick-off party.
  • Try a cross-curriculum approach. Ask fellow teacher for their support and involvement.
  • Share your knowledge. Be open and willing to always share with fellow teachers.

Community Support
Getting support from the community may seem like a daunting task initially, but once the project and its mission is advertised, parents may be the first to get involved. They may even offer their skills and expertise for various tasks. Selecting mentors and/or coaches will enable more collaboration, support, and innovative ideas to surface. Advertising too much is never an issue so use the local television, newspaper and/or school newsletter, and present at parent-teacher associate or group meetings. It is also a good idea t reach out and ask co-worker and other community members to offer constructive criticism.

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The following online communities and resources are beneficial for those interested in starting a global connection in their classroom:

The video below of iEARN's 20th anniversary is shared on their website.

Check out this Glogster created by a teacher from Canada who shares his wonderful experiences of collaborating from a rural area.

Hear from various educators from around the world discuss how they are educating students for sustainability in the video below.

Local Collaborations

The video below explains why the importance of local collaborations is critical in higher education by highlighting the connections amongst colleges in Chicago, IL, namely, Loyola Univeristy, Northwestern University, and DePaul.

Next: Conclusion