Skip to content Skip to navigation

Coaching of Coaches: Collaborative Learning

Ultimately the quality of teaching depends not only on the qualities of those who enter and stay, but also on workplace factors.  Teachers who feel enabled to succeed with students are more committed and effective than those who feel unsupported in their learning and in their practice. Those who have access to teacher networks, enriched professional roles, and collegial work feel more efficacious in gaining the knowledge they need to meet the needs of their students and more positive about staying in the profession.”--Linda Darling-Hammond

Purpose: This investigation is designed to help team leaders facilitate teacher networks and provides support to coaches to work with  teachers around developing, implementing, and assessing C3 Framework lessons/units to inform instructional practice.

This investigation has three parts: InvestigateCreate, and Connect. Please be sure to do all three sections.


(1) Watch the Effective Collaboration [insert link] webinar. In viewing a series of clips from 12 Angry Men, consider the qualities of effective and ineffective collaboration. Think about how these qualities might come into play as you lead teams in aligning curriculum to the C3 Framework.

(2) Read the Phi Delta Kappan article by Rick DuFour entitled, Work Together, but Only If You Want To. Consider this idea of the "right work" and how it applies to your C3 team.

(3) Go to the discussion forum to share and discuss your reflections across these activities.

For more on these topics:

  • One Step at a Time by Parry Graham and Bill Ferriter, an article from JSD (Summer 2009), where they describe the process of moving a middle school toward being a professional learning community. They discuss seven stages of collaboration and provide recommendations for supporting and challenging teams.
  • Use the Four A Text Protocol to facilitate a shared conversation around any type of text, providing opportunities for all voices to participate in shared conversation.
  • Consider how the Building Relationships through Conversation edition of Learning Forward's Tools for Learning Schools might be useful to framing learning conversations with your C3 team.


As a team, identify and develop a set of norms that your team will use to guide your learning together.  You might consider using this protocol from the National School Reform Faculty (pdf) to facilitate this process. When generating your norms, be sure to consider the differences between agreements for face-to-face interactions versus agreements for online interactions. Where and when your group plans to conduct its work together will be an important consideration when generating your group's norms. When you have a final list of norms, post them as a blog in your Exchange group, and tag this post with "Norms-C3."


Considering what you've learned about effective collaboration and putting your group's norms into practice, facilitate a conversation around your team's Asset Inventory results and the Collaborative Learning Continuum. If this is the first time your team is working together, you might choose to not take the Asset Inventory at this time, but to wait until you have more of a history of collaboration. If this is the case, please refer to the Descriptors within the Framework for Building Capacity to establish a goal for strengthening your team's work together.

What? So What? Now What?

  • What?
    • What do you notice or observe in your Asset Inventory results? What stands out as worthy of noticing? These should be observations only. 
    • Think about this investigation holistically.  What did you learn about working as a collaborative team?  How can you support the C3 Framework through the lens of collaborative learning? What areas of the Framework for Building Capacity seem most important for your team's work together on this project?

  • So What?
    • What do these observations mean or imply? What's important to pay attention to, especially in light of the tasks ahead of us? How do the Asset Inventory results (or Framework for Building Capacity) fall within the Collaborative Learning Continuum?
    • Why do you think working in a collaborative team matters?  How is working collectively more powerful than in isolation?  How will you ensure your team can sustain this?  How does working in collaborative teams help guide your understanding of full implementation of the C3 Framework? 

  • Now What?
    • ​ What area(s) do you most want to strengthen, and what are some next steps to move you forward in this area? When will you revisit these collaboration goals to self-assess progress?
    • Think about the collaborative learning tools provided in this investigation.  How will you use these tools (i.e. Collaborative Learning Continuum, Forming Ground Rules) to support your collaborative learning team? What will your group’s next steps be?

In your group's space on the Exchange, post a blog that summarizes the team's Asset Inventory discussion, especially the goals that have been set, why these goals are important to the team at this point in time, and what steps are planned to move the team forward in how you learn with and from one another. Tag this post with "Collaboration Goals."

Plan to reasess your team goals from the asset inventory and continuum in one month and then again in six months. Try to make this process part of your on-going collaborative learning efforts.