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«DOCUMENT RESUME ED 372 540 EC 303 172 AUTHOR Cook, Lynne; Friend, Marilyn TITLE Educational Leadership for Teacher Collaboration. PUB DATE Mar 93 ...»

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ED 372 540 EC 303 172

AUTHOR Cook, Lynne; Friend, Marilyn

TITLE Educational Leadership for Teacher Collaboration.


NOTE 26p.; Chapter 14 in: Billingsley, Bonnie S.; And

Others. Program Leadership for Serving Students with

Disabilities; see EC 303 164.

PUB TYPE Guides Non-Classroom Use (055)

EDRS PRICE MF01/PCO2 Plus Postage..

DESCRIPTORS *Administrator Role; Change Strategies; *Cooperative Planning; *Disabilities; Educational Cooperation;

Elementary Secondary Education; Leadership; Program Costs; *Program Development; School Administration;

Teacher Administrator Relationship; *Teamwork; Time Management IDENTIFIERS *Teacher Collaboration ABSTRACT This chapter, taken from a guide to designing, implementing, and evaluating instruction and services for students with disabilities, addresses the issue of teacher collaboration. It provides information about the nature of teacher collaboration, its role in relation to special education service delivery as well as other school trends, its advantages and disadvantages, its costs, and suggestions for fostering it. A list of 10 ways to create time for collaboration is provided. The chapter is designed to be independent of specific models for establishing programs that emphasize teacher collaboration. Rather, it is intended to act as a set of principles that can guide administrators in the design, implementation. and maintenance of models tailored to meet local needs. (Contains 36 references.) (JDD) Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * from the original document.



Office of Educational Research and Improvement


CENTER (ERIC) flis document flea been reproduced as recewed from the person or organization originating it 0 Minor changes nave been made to improve

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Most rl the emerging approaches to delivering services to students with disabilities stress the importance of teacher collaboration (Friend & Cook, 1992;

Morsink, Chase-Thomas, & Correa, 1991). At the same time, others have noted that significant challenges exist to such collaboration (Idol & West, 1991; Phillips & McCullough, 1990; Pugach & Johnson, 1990). This chapter provides administrators with basic information about the nature of teacher collaboration, its role in relation to current special education service delivery as well as other school trends, its advantages and disadvantages, and suggestions for fostering it. The information provided in this chapter does not depend on specific models for establishing programs that emphasize teacher collaboration. Rather, it is intended to act as a set of principles that can guide administrators in the design, implementation, and maintenance of models tailored to meet local needs.

The following questions will guide the discussion:

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c)S A Definition rc When teachers say that they collaborate, they may mean many different things.

Sometimes they may be referring to working together in a classroom to instruct a group of students that includes students with disabilities. At other times they may be


describing meetings they attend to discuss students who are transferring to the school. They may also be reporting on the efforts of the school's staff development committee or any other situation in which they work closely with other teachers.

The use of the word collaboration may lead to confusion because it refers to how teachers are carrying out a specific task or activity, not the nature or purpose of the activity. Friend and Cook's (1992) definition of collaboration is intentionally general and takes this into account: "Interpersonal 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 goaP' (p. 5). They clarify this definition by detailing several defining characteristics. The following characteristics can be used to further

describe teacher collaboration:

It is voluntary. Teachers may be required to work in close proximity, but they cannot be required to collaborate. They must make a personal choice to work collaboratively in such situations. Because collaboration is voluntary, not administratively mandated, teachers often form close, but informal, collaborative partnerships with colleagues.

It is based on parity. Teachers who collaborate must believe that all individuals' contributions are valued equally. The amount and nature of particular teachers' contributions may vary greatly, but the teachers recognize that what they offer is integral to the collaborative effort.

It requires a shared goal. Teachers collaborate only when they share a goal. If they are working on poorly defined goals, they may be unintentionally working on different goals. When this happens, miscommunication and frustration often occur instead of collaboration.

It includes shared responsibility for key decisions. Although teachers may divide their labor when engaged in collaborative activities, each one is an equal partner in making the fundamental decisions about the actMties they are undertaking. This shared responsibility reinforces the sense of parity that exists among the teachers.

It includes shared accountability for outcomes. This characteristic follows directly from shared responsibility. That is, if teachers share key decisions, they must also share accountability for the results of their decisions, whether those results are positive or negative.

It is based on shared resources. Each teacher participating in a collaborative effort contributes some type of resource. This has the effect of increasing commitment and reinforcing each professional's sense of parity.

Resources may include time, expertise, space, equipment, or any other such assets.

It has emergent properties. Collaboration is based on belief in the value of shared decision making, trust, and respect among participants. However, whiie some degree of these elements is needed at the outset of collaborative activities, they do not have to be central characteristics of a new collaborative relationship. As teachers become more experienced with collaboration, their relationships will be characterized by the trust and respect that grow within successful collaborative relationships.

Teacher Collaboration in Current School Practices

Many trends in schools are encouraging teacher collaboration. For example, peer coaching (Joyce & Showers, 1988) and interdisciplinary curriculum development (Brandt, 1991) are premised on teachers' collaborative relationships, as are currert trends in the design and deiivery of professional development programs (Barth, 1990).

Many aspects of currently recommended school reforms call for greater collaboration among teachers (Good lad, 1984). The trend toward school-based decision making is also consonant with the recognition that collaboration is becoming an essential ingredient in successful schools. Smith and Scott (1990) have asserted that the collaborative school is easier to describe than define. Such a school, they suggest, is

a composite of beliefs and practices characterized by the following elements:

The belief, based on effective schools research, that the quality of education is largely determined by what happens at the school site.

The conviction, also supported by research findings, that instruction is most effective in a school environment characterized by norms of collegiality and continuous improvement.

The belief that teachers are professionals who should be given the responsibility for the instructional process and held accountable for its outcomes.

The use of a wide range of practices and structures that enable administrators and teachers to work together on school improvement.

The involvement of teachers in decisions about school goals and the means for achieving them (p. 2).

Administrators often find that their discussicns of collaboration focus on sharing authority with teachers and involving teachers in school decisions. While these are important aspects of school collaboration, it is teachers working together for the purpose of improving their teaching that distinguishes a truly collaborative school from a school that is simply managed in a democratic fashion. Little (1982) found that more effective schools could be differentiated from less effective schools by the degree of teacher collegiality, or collaboration, they practiced. She observed that collegiality is the existence of four spez:ific behaviors. First, teachers talk frequently, continuously, and concretely about the practice of teaching. Second, they observe each others' teaching frequently and offer constructive feedback and critiques. Third, they work together to plan, design, evaluate, and prepare instructional materials and curriculum. Finally, they teach each other about the practice of teaching. As Cook and Friend (1991b) have noted, collaboration appears to be the unifying theme that will characterize many of the new developments in the successful schools of the 1990s.

Recognizing that collaboration refers to the professional working relationship among teachers establishes a fundamental understanding for ieadership personnei who want to foster teacher collaboration. When creating structures that rely on collaboration, at least two sets of issues must be addressed. The first concerns the quality and integrity of the intervention, activity, or program that is being executed collaboratively. The second concerns the knowledge, skills, and readiness of teachers to work collaboratively. The former topic is the focus of the next section. The latter is addressed in the final section on developing collaborative structures and services.



Teacher collaboration as it relates to special education services should not be considered in isolation from other aspects of a collaborative school. With educational improvement for all students as the overriding goal of collaborative schools (Smith & Scott, 1990), teacher collaboration regarding students with disabilities should be just another aspect of a sclool's collaborative ethic and an integral part of the school culture.

Applications of Collaborative Principles

Collaboration cannot exist by itself. It can only occur when it is associaied with some program or activity that is based on the shared goals of the individuals involved.

An examination of applications in which teachers work collaboratively is appropriate.

Depending upon their shared programmatic goals, educators can work together in many diverse ways to deliver services to students. Laycock, Gable, and Korinek (1991) have described several alternative formats or configurations that facilitate collaborative efforts to deliver educational services. The following sections consider applications of collaboration that may be used for improving the delivery of educational services to all students, including those with disabilities.

Co-Teaching. Co-teaching is becoming a viable approach for instruction in many school situations. For example, in some high schools history and English teachers are co-teaching classes that combine their subject matter into a course called American Studies. Similarly, in middle schools, teams of teachers are meeting regularly to discuss instructional issues and to monitor student progress. Many teachers, regardless of level, contact colleagues to engage in shared classroom activities either formally or inkmally.

This service delivery approach is also receiving increasing attention as a means of integrating students with disabilities into general education classes. In co-teaching designed for this purpose, two teachers -- one a general education teacher and the other a special education teacher -- work primarily in a single classroom to deliver instruction to a heterogeneous group of students including students with disabilities.

Many different types of co-teaching may occur (Adams, Cessna, Stein, & Friend, 1992; Bauwens, Hourcade, & Friend, 1989; Friend & Cook, 1992). The following are

several common approaches:

One teach one observe or assist. In this type of co-teaching, both teachers are present, but one -- often the general education teacher takes a clear lead in the classroom while the other gathers observational data on students or "drifts" around the room assisting students during instruction. This approach is simple; it requires little planning on the part of the teachers, and it provides the additional assistance that can make a heterogeneous class successful. However, it also has serious liabilities. If the same teacher consistently observes or assists, that teacher may feel like a glorified aide and the students may have trouble responding to him or her as a real teacher. If this approach is followed, the teachers should alternate roles regularly.

Station teaching. In this approach, the teachers divide the content to be delivered and each takes responsibility for part of it. In a classroom where station teaching is used, some of the students may be completing independent work assignments or participating in peer tutoring. Although this approach requires that the teachers share responsibility for planning sufficiently to divide the instructional content, each has separate responsibility for delivering instruction. Students benefit from the lower teacher-pupil ratio, an):I students with disabilities may be integrated into a group instead of being singled out. Furthermore, because with this approach each teacher instructs each part of the class, the equal status of both students and teachers is maximized. One drawback to station teaching is that the noise and activity level may be unacceptable to some teachers.

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