Teacher working with student

Working with partners: Relationships, shared goals and communication

teaching practice
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For student year

Preschool – Year 12

Helps students to

  • participate in inclusive culture
  • Helps teachers to

  • establish collaborative partnerships
  • Summary

    Are there multiple people and professionals in your school trying to work together to support diverse learners? Incorporating and respecting the views and perspectives of families, students and professionals is critical in building successful relationships and successful outcomes for diverse learners.

    In this practice four key elements in building supportive and positive relationships are introduced.  School leaders, teachers and parents will also share their approaches to creating supportive relationships.

    Watch this video for more information about this practice.

    Duration: 2:01

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    Preparing to teach

    The importance of supportive and positive relationships

    Building supportive and positive relationships with all relevant partners is critical to the success of work in schools. Positive relationships need to be fostered and developed through communication, shared goals and identifying and involving key partners. Through these relationships constructive, goal-centred, solution-based services and support can be established and delivered through a structured, joint problem-solving approach.


    Positive relationships need to be fostered and developed through communication, shared goals and identifying and involving key partners.

     

    Communication

    Communication plays a significant role in supporting positive and sustainable partnerships and relationships in schools. Research results highlighted that it’s essential to consider how you will use communication to support sustainable connections between all partners.

    • Essential elements of communication include making sure initial communication occurs face to face when possible

      • face to face communication is more effective in helping to develop an understanding of the context, establish rapport and build positive relationships with all partners.

    • Establishing and maintaining ongoing communication should be individualised to best suit the needs of all partners

     

    What different types communication have you used to share the same information with a wide number of people?

    Shared goals

    Relationships should aim to facilitate clear communication and shared goals with all partners. Partners might include students, parents, class teachers, school leaders, specialist support staff, teacher aides and external agencies.

    • Establishing shared and mutually agreed upon goals is important to the sustainability and capacity building of the partnership
    • These goals need to be responsive to the needs of all partners and prioritise family and student needs. They should also set the scene for expectations of the collaborative partnership moving forward.

     

    How do you go about collating the perspectives of everyone and coming up with shared goals?

     


    Identifying and involving key partners

    Getting the right people involved at the right times is important to a successful partnership.

    The following activities are important in supporting positive relationships:

    1. identifying a case manager to coordinate communication
    2. involving all key partners including parents and students
    3. ensuring ongoing lines of open communication between all partners
    4. supporting equitable partnerships and mutually agreed upon shared goals

     

    Think about some of the things that have successfully helped you when there have been many different people involved with a student/your child?

    Working with partners

    Successfully working together relies on all partners taking a consistent, and structured, problem-solving approach in the relationship. To achieve the best outcomes for diverse learners all partners* need to work together to:

    • foster the collaborative partnership and
    • tailor the school-based professional learning to the individual contexts and school community.

    * ‘All partners’ refers to students and their families, and any professionals who are

    1. External to the school community and
      • work with students and their families and their support networks
      • directly or indirectly support teachers and ancillary staff e.g., teacher aides, student support officers 
    2. Internal to the school community and
      • work with students and their families and their support networks
      • directly or indirectly support teachers and ancillary staff e.g., teacher aides, student support officers.
    What are some of the challenges you have experienced when trying to balance working with a wide number of professionals for the one student?

     


    The findings from two of the Autism CRC Early Years and Middle Years Behaviour Support research projects identified  some guiding principles which will assist all partners to successfully:

    • collaborate
    • consult
    • support and
    • nurture positive relationships

    This practice highlights some important elements from this research that build supportive and positive relationships between all partners and are critical to the success of work with schools.


    In the classroom

    Building supportive and positive relationships

    Building supportive and positive relationships with all relevant partners is critical to the success of work with schools. Promoting positive relationships involves establishing constructive, goal-centred, solution-based services and support delivered through a structured, joint problem-solving approach.

    1. Identify a case manager

    • Has a case manager been identified or someone who can coordinate and manage clear communication and liaise with all partners?
      • Identifying a case manager who can help coordinate, instigate and sustain communication with partners is important.

    Use the Stage one: Evaluation section of the Collaborative partnerships in action workbook to 

    • Evaluate the students learning needs and strengths
    • Set the overall goals and desired outcomes for collaboration
    • Determine the best people to aid these goals and outcomes

    2. Involve and communicate with partners

    • Has a plan of how to involve all key partners (including parents and students) in equitable and respectful ways been developed?
      • Communication plays a significant role in supporting positive, sustainable, equitable and respectful partnerships and relationships in schools. 
    • Have you identified who your partners are?
      • Partners might include students, parents, class teachers, school leaders, specialist support staff, teacher aides and external agencies.

     

    Use Stage two: Planning section of the Collaborative partnerships in action workbook to

    • Plan the collaboration and communication .
    • Create the meeting agenda for the initial meeting

    3. Ensure ongoing communication between partners

    • Have you identified how you will communicate and liaise with your partners in the first instance?
      • Communication plays a significant role in supporting positive and sustainable equitable respectful partnerships and relationships in schools.
      • Where possible, the initial communication should be face to face. This helps you to to help understand the context, establish rapport and build positive relationships with all partners. Once the initial communication has been established, ongoing communication can occur in more individualised ways that suit the needs of all partners.

     

    Use Stage three: Meeting section of the Collaborative partnerships in action workbook to

    • Develop a pre-meeting checklist
    • Document the meeting

    4. Support equitable partnerships and mutually agreed upon shared goals

    • Have you worked with partners to develop mutually agreed upon shared goals? What actions have you taken to ensure you can maintain ongoing lines of open communication between partners
      • Establishing goals that are shared by and mutually agreed upon by all partners is important to the sustainability and capacity building of the partnership. 

     

    Use Stage four: Reflection section of the Collaborative partnerships in action workbook to

    • Reflect on the collaboration and evaluate outcomes
    • Sit down with the student to evaluate their thoughts on the collaboration and the outcomes 
    • Revise what needs to stop, start and continue moving forward.

    Practice toolkit

    Practice implementation planner template

    We know that it is not always easy to keep track of what is working and what is not. So, we have created this template for you to record and reflect on what you are doing to help you create a more inclusive classroom. The implementation planner contains:

    • Guidance around goal setting
    • Reflection section (What worked, didn’t work and what to change and next steps.)
    • Prompting questions

    Implementation planner template

    Implementation planner with examples

    Set your professional learning goal for:

    Working with partners: Relationships, shared goals and communication
    You can set and save your goal for inclusive practices using inclusionED. Saved goals will appear in your profile. Here you can access, refine and review your goal easily.

    Benefits of goal setting

    Setting, working towards, and reflecting on goals helps you grow professionally and improve your practice. You can access AITSL learning resources for teachers to learn more about:
    How to set goals
    The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership recommends using the SMART matrix to frame your goal setting.

    SMART goals refers to goals that are:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-phased
    Read more about Improving teaching practices.

    Resources

    Collaborative partnerships in action - Workbook

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