One of the joys for me as a primary teacher working in an international school is that I have access to the specialist knowledge and resources from having a secondary school on site.
When preparing for the current unit of inquiry into forces shaping the planet, I sent an email asking one of the physics teacher for help. I had several responses from across the science department and the prospect of timing a similar unit together with a secondary class for collaboration between children next year.
However collaboration is not all one way.
As a primary teacher I also can give help. The Year 12s in my school are studying the novel the Whale Rider. As someone from New Zealand I was able to answer questions from the Year 12s that were beyond the scope of the English teachers from different nationalities.
What was even more brilliant was my Year 4s were able to contribute to the learning too. The children performed a waiata they had learned to perform for a previous unit of inquiry. The children were able to talk about the importance of singing and the purpose of the song for the Year 12s. The children were nervous performing for teenagers, but they grew in confidence after the event.
This interaction didn’t happen in a committee or because someone told us to, they were conversations between teachers.
You can’t force true collaboration.