Inter-Professional Collaboration

What can we learn from other occupational groups?

If there is one thing ‘education’ isn’t that good at doing, it’s working with other professions.

Teachers are getting better and better at working with each other and social media has played a huge part in this. CPD is there for the taking and some teachers take it by the bucket-load!

We still tend to work and isolate ourselves in Key Stages (despite the obvious benefits of primary and secondary teachers working more closely together) but when it comes to inter-professional collaboration we prefer to go it alone and work in our bubbles and silos.

We need to think of collaboration outside of our traditional Key Stage boundaries but also beyond the education system itself. What can we learn from other professionals and what can they learn from us?

We don’t need to protect our turf and become territorial but open ourselves up to others and invite genuine partnerships and shared learning.

It has long been argued that there is a need for closer collaboration between the medical and veterinary professions because they have plenty in common (and plenty of difference). As Beveridge (1978) said,

A fuller partnership between these two health professions, which have so much in common, should be encouraged in various ways, for example by sharing some courses during university education, and by joint meetings to discuss problems of mutual concern.

So, do they? Since Beveridge made the above comments, are we any further forward? Mobasheri (2015) thinks not and comments “Members of two of the most intelligent and ambitious professions barely talk to each other.”

And this is a problem elsewhere. There are lots of intelligent and ambitious professions doing great and remarkable things but they don’t collaborate but keep themselves to themselves. What a colossal waste!

As Mobasheri notes there are some successful and productive collaborations but these are exceptions rather than the rule.

Education is guilty of talking to itself in the mirror far too much. Who else do we talk to? Who else do we work with? Are collaborations with others ‘one-offs’?

Education needs to develop real conversations with others outside of its own world and create a dialogue between professions who have not yet understood what they can achieve in common.

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