01 SES 10 B, Focussing on the Lesson and Collaboration
Parallel Paper Session
Collaboration among teachers is widely seen as one of the most powerful factors for school development and for the improvement of the teaching profession at individual schools (e.g. Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman & Yoon, 2001, Kullmann, 2010, Stoll & Harris, 2006). Collaboration can be theorised as a constructive and goal-oriented interaction of at least two organisational units or individuals, e.g. teachers. While some factors of successful collaboration can be attributed mainly to the individual level, such as the competence to communicate appropriately, others lie within the responsibility of both the teachers themselves as well as their organisational environment. One such mixed factor frequently mentioned as an obstacle with regard to collaboration is time. On the individual level, the spare time for cooperation is often said to be missing. According to the perspective of many teachers, then, the daily obligations simply do not allow for additional and obviously time consuming interactions with others. Consequently, they put the blame on the organisational or system level: the school administration is said to fail in providing them with sufficient time resources, for example by means of relieving them from teaching obligations or other school-related duties.
Against this background, the study presented here pursues the following research aims:
Firstly, to ascertain the extent to which teachers view general time shortage as a main hindrance factor with regard to instruction-related collaboration within their school.
Secondly, it aims to prove in how far teachers think that an improved time management at their school could lead to time capacities that promote teacher collaboration. Being asked about their own school, making the respective changes cannot be accomplished by the individual teacher alone, but making such changes is ultimately conceivable. It is presumed that initiating a discussion about how time resources could be used in a more effective manner and attempting to make the respective changes basically lies within the range of possible action for each teacher.
Thirdly, the study aims to statistically test the interconnection between the two views of teachers just described as well as the role of different individual and organisational background factors with regard to the respective judgement of the teachers. Such factors comprise age, gender, years of professional experience and full-time vs. part-time employment on the individual level and the school type (primary, different types of German secondary schools) on the organisational level.
In sum, the study attempts to differentiate our knowledge on the role of time as a limiting factor with regard to teacher collaboration. Since teacher collaboration is a putatively powerful process factor with regard to teacher professionalism, more knowledge about the severity of the respective problem is needed in order to alter the situation in favour of both the individuals and their schools. One starting point in this context is to look for options of improved time management at the local level. Bringing both perspectives together, this study aims at conclusions that might help teachers, school managements, and the school administration alike to manage time in the most adequate way.
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