Teacher Collaboration—Why is it so helpful?

Collaboration is not new in the world of education. Discussions on student collaboration happen regularly, and many sources offer tips and guides for facilitating it. People generally accept that effective student collaboration plays an important role in classroom learning and preparation for future careers. Teacher collaboration is just as important and can greatly affect classroom learning for students.

“If our ultimate destination as educators is student achievement, think of teacher collaboration as the journey.”

–Lauren Davis, Schoology

What does it look like?

Teacher collaboration happens when teachers work together, possibly planning for their particular grade level or subject. It might look like a teacher submitting a video lesson with her PLC to get feedback or share best practices. It could be a teacher team reviewing student work so they can select targets for instructional improvement. Collaboration happens when teacher teams work together to plan professional development.

How does it help?

Effective teacher collaboration takes additional time and effort, but we found many examples of its worth. It has been associated with increased student achievement. Research has also indicated teacher collaboration can lower turnover rates among new teachers. Sustained teacher collaboration is a primary vehicle for continuous improvement of teacher practice and encourages shared accountability and collective responsibility for student achievement.

Schools and students receive a lot of benefits when teachers collaborate. When educators share the same vision, they create an environment for more effective student learning. Sharing ideas for presenting content can result in more creative lesson plans. Teachers, especially beginning teachers, more easily avoid isolation and feel more supported when given the opportunity to collaborate with others. It also gives teachers a great opportunity to test out new instructional methods and receive feedback on their effectiveness.

Tips on making it happen

So how do you make teacher collaboration a reality? Time, trust, and respect are three key ways that we found. Teachers already have a lot of requirements on their schedule, so time has to be set aside specifically for it. Some schools even adjust their schedules to create common planning time, allowing teachers to designate a specific day and time to meet. Open collaboration requires trust, and a safe place to learn. Ideas and perspectives of all involved need to be respected.

“The more people invested in a student’s education the better the chance that student has to be successful.”

Lauren Davis, Schoology

Collaboration is a valuable tool in education, whether between students or between teachers. When teachers are given the opportunity to collaborate effectively, we can see a great impact on classroom learning and student achievement.

What experiences have you had with collaboration?