05 SES 14, Effects of Schools, Teachers and Teacher Collaboration on At-risk Groups
Teacher collaboration is an important indicator of school quality, and is assumed to positively impact teaching quality (Ditton & Müller, 2011). This theory is supported by empirical studies from Germany (Hochweber et al., 2012) and the Netherlands (Moolenaar, Sleegers, & Daly, 2011). There is a diverse range of theoretical explanations for this causal link. For example, Willmann (2010) emphasizes the importance of cooperative support for the management of students with SEBD.
Educational theories suggest that professional collaboration helps teachers find solutions to important school-related problems (Terhart & Klieme, 2006, Richter & Pant, 2016). Therefore, professional teacher collaboration is believed to create inclusive learning climates in schools with diverse student bodies (Lütje-Klose & Urban, 2014, Arndt & Werning, 2016).This is particularly important for students with psychosocial disabilities, who have a special need for stable relationships with adults. Teachers who effectively collaborate with colleagues, special education teachers etc. are more likely to be able to fulfill this need (Müller, 2017). Nevertheless, there is few empirical evidence, in how far students with psychosocial disabilities benefit from professional collaboration (Weeden et al. 2016; Desbiens und Royer 2003).
The term psychosocial disability requires a broad definition because it encompasses the external and internal reality of at-risk children and adolescents (Zimmermann, 2017).
Psychosocial disorders in the context of school always includes three dimensions:
- The prior and present social experiences of children and adolescents. About 10 percent of all children and adolescents are affected by physical abuse; sexual violence and grave neglect are also highly prevalent and constitute a central cause of impaired development and disorders (Pillhofer et al., 2011 Désbien und Gagné 2007)).
- The inner worlds of children with the experiences outlined in the first dimension is often characterized by widespread mistrust, fear, and longing for protection and trust (Müller, 2017). When teachers interact with such children and adolescents, they experience strong emotional reactions of affective participation (Zimmermann, 2016).
- The contextual framework, which includes spatial arrangements, immediate relationship opportunities, group dynamics, as well as how students with psychosocial disorders are perceived by their peers and teachers (Stein, 2017). (Shearman 2003)
Due to this complexity, it is difficult to assess psychosocial disabilities with quantitative measures. For this research project, the internationally validated Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) will be used to identify students with special needs in terms of emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer relationship problems etc.
Links between a lack of pedagogical professionalism, low-quality collaboration among teachers, and experiences of failure among teachers and students have been found as well (Stein & Ellinger, 2012; Herz, 2016; Zimmermann, 2016). This suggests that without the development of comprehensive and cooperative collaboration, teachers, administrators, and the school system as a whole are overburdened by students with psychosocial disabilities (Gräsel et al., 2006; Kuorelahti et al., 2015).
The presented paper documents the qualitative section of a mixed-methods study. It examines collaboration focus, subjective experiences and attitudes of teachers and students towards collaboration. The main goal is to understand what high-quality collaboration looks like from both teachers’ and students’ perspectives. The study results will help generate recommendations for school development interventions and reforms that focus on high-quality teacher collaboration.
The qualitative section uses qualitative methods to test the following hypotheses:
- Teachers experience collaboration as positive and successful if it matches their subjective and collective professional self-image, and if they experience themselves as effective actors in the process.
- From the point of view of teachers and their students, if teacher collaboration successfully addresses the topic of psychosocial disorders at their school, then disturbances and distractions in the classroom related to psychosocial disorders are handled more positively by teachers and students.
The study uses focus group interviews (Döring & Bortz, 2016) with teachers and students to test the central hypotheses, and follows Calderon Gomez’ (2009) guidelines for qualitative research methods. Quantitative data on the quality of teacher collaboration will inform the assignment of teachers into focus groups, i.e. two focus groups with teachers who report low quality collaboration and two focus groups with teachers who report high quality collaboration. Focus groups enable the discussion of teachers’ subjective connotations of collaboration; furthermore, the group setting gives insight into teacher-teacher-interaction and to the non-verbal aspects of professional interaction. The research team will test all interview guidelines in a pilot study in order to test their fit for initiating productive discussions. All focus group interviews will be digitally recorded. This study uses Summarizing Qualitative Content Analysis to analyze the focus-group-interviews based on Mayring’s (2015) approach. This includes the following steps: 1. Determination of the units of analysis. 2. Paraphrasing content-bearing text passages with regard to the specific dimensions. 3. Collation of the new statements as a category system. 4. Re-testing of the new statements as a category system. 5. Interpretation of category systems with regard to the hypotheses. We use the qualitative analysis software f4 for the transcription of all audio data. Transcription follows the TiQ (Talk in Qualitative Research) method (Bohnsack et al., 2007), which tracks verbal and non-verbal communication. The objective of the qualitative content analysis is to form categories from the transcripts based on the following dimensions: a) Concepts of and perceptions about teaching as a profession, b) individual experiences and specific examples of teacher collaboration, c) institutional structures impacting teacher collaboration, d) focus on students with psychosocial disorders, and e) management of classroom conflicts. The new categories will then be used to structure and interpret the transcribed material, taking into account the characteristics of the focus group participants. Here, a depth hermeneutical insight into the most important categories and corresponding scene will enable us to understand latent meanings of successful and failing collaboration. Both groups will be compared with regard to their perceptions about the links between professionalism, institutional structures, and the quality of collaboration. Furthermore, from each of the four teacher focus groups we select one teacher’s students and assign them to student focus groups. Parents will be asked to give permission for their children’s participation in the study.
We expect a strong link between teachers' quality of collaboration and subjective experiences and attitudes. Teachers experience collaboration as positive and successful if it matches their subjective and collective professional self-image, and if they experience themselves as effective actors in the process. Thus, we expect teachers’ concepts of their profession, individual experiences of teacher collaboration and institutional structures strongly impacting collaboration. We also expect a strong link between teachers' quality of collaboration and subjective experiences and attitudes of students. If teacher collaboration successfully addresses the topic of psychosocial disorders at their school, then disturbances and distractions in the classroom related to psychosocial disorders are handled more positively by teachers and students. Thus, we expect that collaborative focus on students with psychosocial disorders and management of classroom conflicts is strongly impacted by collaboration. In addition, the final online report will inform policymakers and future education reforms in Germany and Europe on how high-quality teacher collaboration can lead to positive student developmental outcomes for students in general, and students with psychosocial disorders in particular. The information this project gathers in schools is valuable for both the development of teacher training programs, and for intervention and reform programs that aim to improve school quality. We expect the strongest impact for schools that participate in the study, because they can react promptly to possible collaborative deficits and improve their teaching quality. The research team’s translation of research results into training opportunities for teachers at the Kompetenzzentrum Rehabilitation at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. It will also generate sustainable effects on the development of inclusive school environments in Germany.
Bohnsack, R., Nentwig-Gesemann, I. & Nohl, A.-M. (2007): Richtlinien der Transkription: Talk in Qualitative Research. In: Bohnsack, Ralf; Nentwig-Gesemann, Iris; Nohl, Arnd-Michael (Hrsg.): Die dokumentarische Methode und ihre Forschungspraxis. Grundlagen qualitativer Sozialforschung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Calderon Gomez, C. (2009): Assessing the quality of qualitative health research: Criteria, process and writing. Forum Qualitative Social Research, 10(2). Online verfügbar unter: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/rt/printerFriendly/1294/2806 Ditton, H. & Müller, A. (2011). Schulqualität. In: Empirische Bildungsforschung Gegenstandsbereiche (S. 99-111). Wiesbaden: VS Verl. für Sozialwiss. Gräsel, C., Fußangel, K. & Pröbstel, C. (2006). Lehrkräfte zur Kooperation anregen - eine Aufgabe für Sisyphos? Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 52(2), 205-219. Herz, B. (2016): Deprofessionalisierungsprozesse in der schulischen Erziehungshilfe durch »Para-Professionelle«? Behindertenpädagogik, 55, 187–196. Hochweber, J., Steinert, B. & Klieme, E. (2012). Lehrerkooperation, Unterrichtsqualität und Lernergebnisse im Fach Englisch. Unterrichtswissenschaft, 40(4), 351-370. Kuorelahti, M., Virtanen, T. & Chilla, S. (2015): Auch Lehrkräfte benötigen Unterstützung im Inklusiven Unterricht! Professional Agency und die Professionalisierung von Lehrkräften in der Inklusion. VHN 85(1), 25–35. Lütje-Klose, B. & Urban, M. (2014). Professionelle Kooperation als wesentliche Bedingung inklusiver Schul- und Unterrichtsentwicklung. Teil 1: Grundlagen und Modelle inklusiver Kooperation. VHN 83 (2), 111-123. Mayring, P. (2015). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim: Weinheim: Beltz. (12. Überarbeitete Auflage). Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Verlag. Pillhofer, M., Ziegenhain, U., Nandi, C., Fegert, J. M. & Goldbeck, L. (2011): Prävalenz von Kindesmisshandlung und -vernachlässigung in Deutschland. Annäherung an ein Dunkelfeld. Kindheit und Entwicklung 20, 64–71. Prengel, Annedore (2013): Pädagogische Beziehungen zwischen Anerkennung, Verletzung und Ambivalenz. Opladen, D: Budrich. Richter, D. & Pant, H.-A. (2016): Lehrerkooperation in Deutschland. Eine Studie zu kooperativen Arbeitsbeziehungen bei Lehrkräften der Sekundarstufe I. Online verfügbar unter https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/BSt/Publikationen/GrauePublikationen/Studie_IB_Lehrerkooperation_in_Deutschland_2016_final.pdf Ronfeldt, M., Farmer, S. O., McQueen, K. & Grissom, J. A. (2015). Teacher Collaboration in Instructional Teams and Student Achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 52(3), 475-514. Stein, Roland (2017): Grundwissen Verhaltensstörungen. 5., neu überarbeitete Auflage. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren. 24 Stein, R., & Ellinger, S. (2012): Effekte inklusiver Beschulung. Forschungsstand im Förderschwerpunkt emotionale und soziale Entwicklung. Empirische Sonderpädagogik, 85–112. Terhart, E. & Klieme, E. (2006). Kooperation im Lehrerberuf - Forschungsproblem und Gestaltungsaufgabe. Zur Einführung in den Thementeil. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 52 (2), 163-167. Zimmermann, D. (2016). Traumapädagogik in der Schule. Pädagogische Beziehungen mit schwer belasteten Kindern und Jugendlichen. Originalausgabe. Gießen: Psychosozial-Verlag. Zimmermann, D. (2017): Pädagogische Konzeptualisierungen für die Arbeit mit sehr schwer belasteten Kindern und Jugendlichen. VHN, eingereicht.
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