L. Brook E. Sawyer & Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman
This mixed-method study examined characteristics and predictors of teacher collaboration. Limited research exists that describes the characteristics of teacher collaboration, and surprisingly little work explains the ways in which teaching experience and teachers’ perceptions of the school environment influence teacher collaboration. Questionnaire data were collected from a sample of 118 elementary school teachers in six schools in a northeast urban school district, and interviews were conducted with administrators in each school. Three schools were in their second year implementing the Responsive Classroom (RC) Approach, and three schools were comparison schools. Teachers reported collaborating approximately once or twice per month, generally with fellow grade-level teachers about student-centered topics. Teachers in RC schools reported more frequent formal collaboration than comparison school teachers. In regards to predicting teacher collaboration, teachers who used more RC practices and/or resources reported collaborating more, valuing collaboration to a higher degree, and perceiving greater involvement in school decision-making, controlling for whether they taught at a RC school. Also, teachers’ perceptions of the school environment related positively to teacher collaboration. The current study adds to the understanding of teacher collaboration and its antecedents, contributing uniquely to the literature on how a school-wide educational initiative is associated with teachers’ perceptions of their school environment as well as their collaborative behaviors and beliefs.