Saturday, 28 October 2017

Week 31 - Professional Context - Crossing Boundaries

I am a Primary educator so I have a lot of different interdisciplinary connections, a lot of which happen naturally as we tend to integrate well and are accustomed to using this kind of approach. This map shows my connections and some of the possible connections I can have too:

Screenshot - 29_10_2017 , 6_04_38 p_m.png

One of the interdisciplinary connections that is my near future goal is the support agencies that we are involved with or potentially could be involved with. This involves the RTLB, RLit service, psychologists and councillors/mental health mainly. We have an involvement with these agencies but we often walk away not fully satisfied with this connection so I would like to examine how we could make this connection stronger.

In Mulligan & Kuban’s article (2015) they suggest a conceptual model for successful collaboration. The 3 aspects of this are: workplace conditions, qualities/attitudes and common goals. By using this model with these services this would help to make this a successful interdisciplinary connection.

For workplace conditions Mulligan & Kuban (2015) talk about communication, the space of meetings and support. For my connection with these services it is important that we have regular open communication from both sides, I think the first meeting/communication is the most important as it sets the stage for the rest of the work together. The next aspect is qualities/attitudes which I think is the most crucial aspect if you hope to be truly cooperative it is about being vulnerable, being equitable and having trust. I think a lot of this comes the first few times you communicate again as this is when you set up your relationship and clearly share and set goals about what you both want to gain from this connection. The last aspect is common goals which is working to each others strengths, being clear about the goals and both being happy with them too. I personally think with some support agencies we do have the last two aspects in place enough and this is why maybe we come away not happy with this connection.

From this reflection I can really see that I need to work harder on qualities/attitudes and common goals and ensure that the agency realises the importance of these two aspects too.

I can definitely see the importance and benefits from interdisciplinary practice as it really helps to bring other people in to help us, as we are not experts in all fields. It opens our eyes to new pedagogy and new ideas. Some of the challenges are that we definitely have to be open minded and open to it ourselves and feel like we need the support otherwise we will get nothing from it. We also need to be able to be open for suggestions and if all 3 of Mulligan & Kuban’s (2015) aspects are well set up this should happen. This is my goal to not let these challenges get in my way and be more open to the things I can learn from these support agencies as I am not an expert in these areas.


Mulligan, L. M., & Kuban, A. J. . (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from

ThomasMcDonaghGroup. ( 2011, May 13). Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education.[video file]. Retrieved from


  1. That's an interesting read. I feel there's a power imbalance sometimes between services. When we find services don't meet our expectations, it is often because that initial meeting does not spell out what the service can and can't do. The scope-setting isn't there. I feel what we lack is an overall coordination of services and this is something the new government have said they will bring in for ORRS funded children and rightly so. But for the rest we feel "lucky" if we get a child accepted onto a service. We have to apply and there are intake meetings and children don't always get onto the service. So there's a little bit of power imbalance in that the criteria are decided outside of us and we don't always know why a child has received further help or not. I've also addressed this in my post and its reassuring to know the Ministry is working on a more integrated approach although this is a long way yet from meeting the grass-roots needs.

  2. Thanks for sharing Morgan. I agree that in interdisciplinary practice enables people from different theoretical backgrounds to come together. As you said there are so many different benefits from relationships with experts in other fields and in the teaching profession we have so many different expert hats to put on- it is nice to share the load and hear expert opinions on matters.