Collaboration comes from the word collaborate which means to work together or with someone else, especially for a special purpose (Longman Dictionary) and collaboration itself has become the culture of many IB schools, including our school in BPK PENABUR Banda. Collaboration is developed among the school community members, involving teachers, students, parents, school staff, and school stakeholders. This culture has to be well-established and promoted to create not only a positive teaching and learning environment, but also a supportive and dynamic one.
In K2 first unit of inquiry “How We Express Ourselves”, K2 students learned about various kinds of stories, both in English and Bahasa Indonesia with the central idea “Stories engage their audience and communicate meaning”. In order to get the students exploring the different stories, we worked collaboratively with the parents to support this learning activity at home as well as at school. We asked the parents to spend some time reading the children’s story books together with their child at home; discuss and communicate about the plot of the stories; also try to listen to their child’s voice as he/she was retelling the stories. The purpose of this activity was not merely to promote the love of reading, but also to support the students’ literacy and communication skills, imagination, knowledge and positive attitudes. We also invited the parents to come to our classroom to share stories and communicate with the students through question and answer session after telling the stories to find out how well the students understood the stories. To our surprise, some of the parents were willing to participate and were very supportive with this activity. The parents brought their own books and also the props from home (stick puppets, soft toys) to make the students engaged with the stories.
The sparks of enthusiasm glowed even brighter from the students’ eyes when they knew that their parents would come again and worked collaboratively with them to make their costumes for the drama performances. The stories were chosen by the students as well as the characters. It was wonderful to see how well the students communicated with their parents in deciding what they wanted and were able to do during the costume making day.
The open communication has become the golden bridge to make this collaboration happen continually and open-mindedness has been the key for success. So, no matter the differences in backgrounds and perspectives, it will not hinder the collaborative planning and learning in this school. The heart of collaboration will keep growing and staying among the school community members (Ms. Cynthia).