Principals' perceptions of factors affecting teacher collaboration in elementary schools

Joan M Piccardi, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

To improve student achievement, teacher effectiveness must be improved. Research has shown that schools with high levels of professional collaboration have more effective teachers and that improvement in teaching is collective and continuous (Darling-Hammond, 1998; National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2001; Rosenholtz, 1991). There is, however, a lack of empirical research examining the role or importance of specific variables regarding improvement of teacher collaboration. This study investigated elementary principals' perceptions of factors affecting teacher collaboration in their schools. ^ Principals are most likely to have the greatest influence on the capacity of teachers to become more collaborative and on changing the current predominant patterns of teaching in isolation (Leonard & Leonard, 1999; Louis, Kruse & Associates, 1995). To plan for the necessary changes in elementary schools, an understanding is needed of principals' perceptions of factors affecting teacher collaboration. To provide such an understanding, focus group interviews were held with elementary school principals from Rhode Island. Three focus groups were held, from which data were collected and analyzed for recurring themes. ^ This qualitative study provides a picture of elementary principals' perceptions of the factors affecting teacher collaboration in their schools, including the barriers and facilitators to such collaboration. This study also describes how the principals attempt to support teacher collaboration, and what training and supports they feel they would need in order to improve teacher collaboration in their elementary schools. ^ The research findings indicate that the elementary school principals in this study identified several factors that influenced the state of teacher collaboration in their schools. Principals viewed some of the factors as issues being successfully addressed by them, some of the factors as difficult to address due to barriers, and some of the factors within their influence only if changes and supports were to be put into place. ^ Educators may examine the findings of this study to inform plans for improving teacher collaboration. Educational researchers may consider the findings of this study as the basis of future quantitative research. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Elementary|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Joan M Piccardi, "Principals' perceptions of factors affecting teacher collaboration in elementary schools" (January 1, 2005). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3177199.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3177199

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