Teacher collaboration

Anne Hynds photoDr. Anne Hynds is a Pākeha Researcher / Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington. She is also a Research Associate for the Jessie Herrington Research Centre at the Faculty of Education. As a teacher, Anne taught in primary, intermediate and secondary school settings, and in mainstream and Deaf education. Anne has a real interest in collaborative research / action research methodologies and has worked in a number of bi-cultural evaluation projects including the National Evaluation of Te Kotahitanga; the coordination of the Quality Teaching Research and Development in Practice Project (QTR&D) and the National Evaluation of Te Kauhua: Maori in the mainstream pilot project.

What is teacher collaboration really?

There are different terms associated with teacher collaboration, including collegiality, professional learning communities, and partnership work to name but a few. It is important to draw distinctions between teacher congeniality and collegiality. Congeniality refers to the comfortableness of teachers’ social relationships, while collegiality refers to the quality and impact of professional relationships and shared responsibility for change across classrooms through collaboration.

In culturally responsive schooling contexts, teacher collaboration must extend beyond the staff-room door, because the development of culturally responsive practices requires teachers to form reciprocal learning relationships with diverse groups of students and their parent/caregiver communities.  Friend and Cook (1992) state that “…collaboration is a style of direct interaction between at least two co-equal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (p. 5). Teacher collaboration implies collective responsibility for improving all student outcomes within culturally responsive and inclusive environments. This means challenging deficit thinking and low expectations within classrooms and schools that prevent all students from realizing their full potential. Read more