Does Teacher Collaboration in Schools Really Work?
Working together in a team environment
Administrators have pushed collaborating into schools as a way to bring more great ideas into the classroom touting all the while the many research-based articles that tell us that is does, but does it really?
Does Collaborating Really Work?
Bringing together a group of teachers to collaborate and share their designs and teaching strategies they use in their classroom sounds like the ultimate in great ideas and reciprocal teaching among the teaching community, but does it really work? In a 2007 study done by Yvonne L Goddard; Roger D Goddard; Megan Tschannen-Moran, they reported that “our findings suggest that teacher collaboration may improve schools' ability to foster student achievement.”
Our school district has incorporated mandatory collaboration meetings during our open periods as a tool to increase teacher effectiveness and learning facilitation. As with any strategy, it’s important to note that it has to be incorporated using some sort of plan that will guarantee its success. I say though, that when not done properly, collaboration can actually have adverse effects.
Collaboration is time consuming. The time spent in meetings must have a goal to accomplish, for instance, collaborating on test building or essential learnings. When this isn’t implemented, teachers can leave a meeting feeling like they just wasted an hour of precious time that could be spent grading intensive written work or planning their upcoming week or call parents to discuss student progress.
“Collaboration is great in that my colleagues have a wealth of knowledge and ideas, so meeting is essential. What often seems to happen is that administration has its own agenda it wants the team to do. It can be more information that I am able to process at one time,” says one of our 7th grade English Language Arts teachers at Eastgate Middle School. “Sometimes I just need time to digest new information and time to reflect on my own teaching. Meeting too often puts too much on my metaphorical plate. In other words, administrators just need to let us do our job instead of making up more ‘stuff’ for us to do.”
Collaborating with other members of our teaching team is vital to the success of any learning institute. Let’s make sure the agendas for these collaborations have meaning, purpose and direction to ensure quality and success. Please leave a comment telling me how collaboration works in your school.