Characteristics of collaboration
Collaboration is the heart of a teaching profession. There were five characteristics of collaboration contributing to the professional teacher development. Collaboration is voluntary which means teachers should collaborate between them without any external forcing. They have to practice their own comfortable and particular style of interactions with co- workers and students. This will improve the teaching process as unnecessary forcing may make them less interest and less confident, thus affecting the teaching process. Secondly, collaboration necessitates parity between participants (Parkay, 2016). It involves valuing each and every teacher’s contributions equally and giving them with equal power to make decisions in their teaching process. They should be given independence in guiding the students and the decisions of all the teachers should be considered equally.
Thirdly, collaboration should be based on mutual teaching objectives. It is not necessary for the professional teachers to share all the goals for the sake of collaborating between others and it is enough to share only specific as well as more important goals to draw their shared attention. The teachers should collaborate with common objectives among them to enhance their professionalism. Ultimately, their aim should be to enhance student achievement (Quick, 2009).
Fourthly, collaboration always depends upon shared responsibilities for participating in teaching and in decision- making process (Parkay, 2016). It means the collaborators should assume the responsibilities of participating in the teaching activities with decision- making process. The teachers should develop decision- making and problem- solving skills to be professionally efficient. The next characteristics of collaboration involve sharing the teaching and educational resources. Sharing the resources such as time, educational materials and knowledge is a key principle in professionalism (Vacilotto, 2007). This will promote the feelings of ownership among professional teachers. Friend (2011) suggests that the persons who collaborate among other persons should share their responsibility for teaching outcomes. The professionals should work for a same teaching goal under same organizational pattern to achieve outcomes. A professional should take responsibility for either a positive outcome or for a negative outcome. These characteristics of collaboration should be adapted by all the teachers to become an effective professional. Collaboration will promote professionalism among teachers that ultimately increases teaching outcomes.
Approaches of teacher collaboration
This part evaluates the four methods of teacher collaboration as peer- coaching, involvement by staff, team- teaching as well as co- teaching. The first technique of peer coaching involves the process of learning of the teacher from their peers or co- teachers. In olden days, experienced teachers will be teaching and guiding the newer teachers. But, it is insufficient in current era and requires mastered teaching and hence formalized peer- coaching helps to extend the collaboration between more teachers (Parkay, 2016). It helps the teachers to grow professionally and learn by observing other’s teaching and providing appropriate and constructive feedback. It helps the professional teachers to learn collaboratively in psychologically safer environment. It strives to create the professional educator communities and makes all the teachers in coaching team to be collaborative. Developing coaching teams and establishing coaching environment will make all the teachers to collaborate and evaluate each other (Scott, 2008). By this teacher interaction and collaboration, peer- coaching techniques will improve professional morale and teaching effectiveness, thus promoting professionalism in teaching.
The second method to develop collaboration between teachers is staff development. Staff development encourages the teachers to design their own staff- development program that makes them as collaborator, risk- taker and experimenter in the teaching process. It helps the teachers to collaborate with their co- teachers of same grade that will motivate them to share ideas, opinions, suggestions, interventions and solutions to problems in teaching. This will help the teachers to discuss and practice instructional theories, solve problems that had occurred in the classroom, plan curriculum, get advice, receive encouragement and generally reflect (Vacilotto, 2007).
Team teaching is another method to encourage collaboration. In this, the teachers will share their responsibilities in two or many classes and divide subjects between them with one preparing for few subjects and the other for remaining subjects. They may divide their classes based on the performance of the students. It develops the teachers to be more competent in their teaching areas leading to professional development (Lieberman, 2008). It could be practiced by the collegial- support team to promote safer professional development. The fourth approach of co-teaching involves teaching the students by two/more teachers in same classroom. It promotes strength of the teachers and increases learning opportunities for the students (Friend, 2008). It is of many types as one- teaches one-assist, station, parallel and alternative teaching.
Friend, M. (2008). Interactions: Collaboration Skills for School Professionals. Boston. M.A: Pearson
Lieberman, A. & Pointer Mace, D. (2008). Teacher learning: the key to education reform: Journal of Teacher Education. 59(3): 226-234
Parkay, F. W. (2016). Becoming a teacher (9th ed.). Boston. M.A: Pearson
Quick, H., Holtzman, D. & Chaney, K. (2009). Professional development and instructional practice: Conceptions and evidence of effectiveness: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR. 14(1): 45-71.
Scott, V. (2008). Peer Coaching: Implication for Teaching and Program Improvement. Retrieved from
Vacilotto, S. (2007). Peer Coaching in TEFL/TESL Programmers: ELT Journal. 61(2): 153-160.