by Juli-Anne Benjamin, NJLA Board Member
Every time I think I have embraced a good understanding of research as it relates to collaboration, the discussion space with colleagues and the cyclical questions we ask and answer, consistently iterates and I gain new and deeper understanding of the concept. Even the name of 'collaborative communication' is coined as "inter professional collaboration", which, on its face, may not lead one to think or know it as collaborative communication. Through self-reflection and an evaluation session with supervisors this week, I have been in a goal setting mindset about the personal and professional communication areas that I wish to improve. Professional improvements span the spaces of collaboration and include formative communication wherein I want to work to communicate with staff more verbally in the moment and not always emailing as summative communication. There are small issues that arise for literacy coaches and principals throughout the workday which are emailed, often to many individuals which, with the inclusion of the infamous “reply all” can border on unprofessionalism and become proverbial fires that could be addressed with a simple phone call and a verbal conversation as a way to communicate. Personal improvements I wish to make surround spaces of working to continue developing teaching talent, professional learning and continuing to educate pre-service teachers on the undergraduate level.
Three peer-reviewed articles on collaborative communication which have informed my reflection and knowledge about the depth in my personal and professional experiences are;
Peer-Reviewed Article One;
"Working on working together. A systematic review on how healthcare professionals contribute to interprofessional collaboration"
In this article, Schot, Trummers & Noordegraaf, (2020) studies how health care workers must work together for the good of the patient. Collaboration is a concept which I believe could be misunderstood in many ways for many people. There are sometimes unintended consequences when communication and collaboration are at play in the workforce. Employees often believe they are collaborating as productive communication and vice versa, however the silos and isolation some employees continue to inhabit derail from the ideal workplace environment of teaming. Schot, Trummers & Noordegraaf, (2020), asserts the ideal way to deliver high quality care to patients in such diverse settings as hospitals, clinics and offices is to interpersonally communicate with each other. The cyclical method works well herein as the consistent collaboration and communication is necessary as the needs of patients change so often.
"Team Communication as a Collaborative Process"
In article two, Gervits, Eberhard & Scheutz, (2016) studied and reported on collaborative communication in teamed work groups such as military spaces and medical organizations and how the coordination of communication is bested by the buy-in of all employees and staff in the group. Effective communication and collaboration is a dance and it takes many efforts and committed actions to be truly choreographed in how the communication is distilled in the groups. This article meant the most as it related to how many people work in a school organization and how often there can be miscommunication in a group or workspace. If the communication is effective, sound, cyclical and reliable, then the chances of miscommunication are slim.
"Safe and Collaborative Communication Skills: A Step towards Mental Health Nurses Implementing Trauma Informed Care"
In article three, the mental health and the affect of those team members and employees who manage mental health traumas are discussed. Isobel & Delgado, (2018) states that nurses who may suffer from the mental health services they provide are considered and discussed as the need for help and support for all exists. In the current climate of acute awareness of mental health trauma affecting everyone from children to adults, there is an ample appetite for screenings, conversation, support, healthcare and support for the services of mental health. Applying some of the strategies mentioned in all of these peer-reviewed articles take precedence for me as I continue toward continuous improvement and reflection in an effort to improve my practice as an executive administrator and transformational leader.
The image below demonstrates the "all-in" framework of communication and collaboration. I love the colors, the proximity of the employees to each other and the shared agreement for their work. However, the inference is that all employees in the graphic are “all-in” and does not depict the reality in many schools, churches, groups, teams and organizations when few or some staff neglect and reject the collaborative process in work tasks or communication.
Indeed, we all have much work to do.
Gervits, F., Eberhard, K., & Scheutz, M. (2016). Team communication as a collaborative process. Frontiers in Robotics. Retrieved from;
Isolbel, S., & Delgado, C. (2018). Safe and collaborative communication skills: A Step towards Mental Health Nurses Implementing Trauma Informed Care. Science Direct. Retrieved from;
Schot, E., Trummers, L., & Noordegraaf, M. (2020) Working on working together. A systematic review on how healthcare professionals contribute to interprofessional collaboration. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 34:3, 332-342, DOI: 10.1080/13561820.2019.1636007
Crabb, C. (2017). Using moodle for collaboration. Elon University. Retrieved from;