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Getting Serious About Measuring Collaborative Teacher Practice

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I currently work at a charter school that prides themselves in practicing "teacher collaboration". It is a well intendant practice that the school administrators are trying to implement and have cross collaboration projects among all their teachers across all campuses. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work it needs to be done so we as teachers can actually benefit from a true teacher collaboration model. Just this past week we were given a collaborative project between our two charter schools (one is in downtown Phoenix and the other one in the east valley). Because "collaborative teaching" has not been incorporated in our teacher professional development it has been hard to work along with other colleagues, especially when they are in a different location. It almost feels like we are in two very different worlds. I feel there is still a very long path we need to walk before we can start seeing the true benefits of teacher collaboration and therefore offer our students the best teaching practices that are out there and utilize our own and our colleagues experience to work together and create a curriculum that will be beneficial to all of our students. Schools need to promote and train teachers how to work collaborate and not just expect them to do it on their own without any guidance. In a recent study conducted by Richard DuFour he talks about the benefits of teacher collaboration and how it can have a positive impact in education. He also states the need to implement a collaborative teaching environment "Despite compelling evidence indicating that working collaboratively represents best practice; teachers in many schools continue to work in isolation. Even in schools that endorse the idea of collaboration, the staff’s willingness to collaborate often stops at the classroom door. Some school staffs equate the term “collaboration” with congeniality and focus on building group camaraderie". He basically summed up what I shared in this blog. We as teachers are not fully immersed in this culture of collaborative teaching practices among our colleagues.

Playing devils advocate here, How does this work for teachers who lets there groups take over? I mean you guys teach same material but does that make everybody the same? There are many positive things that come out of evaluations such as: “improve teaching through the identification of ways; protect students from incompetence, and teachers from unprofessional administrators, and to reward superior performance” (Darling-Hammond). There are so many great reasons that could be covered up by how the evaluation is being given. Groups are great but teaching is not group work If you have time you should check out Darling-Hammond, L., Amrein-Beardsley, A., Haertel, E., & Rothstein, J. (2012). Evaluating teacher evaluation. The Phi Delta Kappan, 93(6), 8-15.

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