I have been interested in studying collaboration among teachers for several years. My interest increased after having the course on professional identity as during the course we studied different scholars’ perspectives on collaboration and the impact it has on school development. I especially liked “What’s worth fighting for out there” by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves. I personally consider this topic to be crucial to all the teachers, school leaders and even policy makers.
Teachers often work in isolation in their classrooms with little collaboration or sharing of ideas or strategies with other teachers or administrators. They keep to themselves and are shielded in privacy in their classrooms (DuFour, 2011). Fullan and Hargreaves (1992) call teaching a “lonely profession”. Hargreaves and Wignall (1989) consider that privatism is a habit historically developed in teachers. Such situations can lead to stagnation in school development. Lortie (1975) considers that isolation in teaching lead to “conservatism and resistance to innovation in teaching”. However, collaboration at school is very important. Because pure collaborative culture can lead to the school improvement at all stages. DuFour and Mattos (2013) state that “the most powerful strategy for improving both teaching and learning is by creating the collaborative culture and collective responsibility of a professional learning community” (p.36).
The administration of the school where I am going to conduct a research established a schedule of collaborative planning. However, the notion “collaboration” at that school is not clear for both the teachers and administrators. Regarding this, I would like to study the perceptions of teachers on collaboration . I want to understand how primary teachers of that school perceive collaboration and how those perceptions influence on establishing collaborative culture at school.
I consider that the findings of the study will influence on the school where the research will be conducted as it might help establishing collaborative culture in the school. The administration of the school might benefit because they are interested in developing collaborative culture at school. The teachers might also benefit because collaboration would create a collegial atmosphere in the school where teachers could share their values, beliefs as well as frustrations. I hope that the research will contribute to the existing knowledge about establishing collaborative culture in Kazakhstani schools.
One major challenge that existed during my first year of study was to manage to do both work and studies. As many of my groupmates I had so many sleepless nights to meet the deadlines. However, I learned how to plan my time appropriately to fulfill both responsibilities at work and at the university.
Another challenge was to understand the concepts that we studied and then to apply those concepts in the papers that we were supposed to write.
Finally, it was sometimes hard with academic English. It turned out that I lack some knowledge of the academic style of writing and academic vocabulary.
I hope that this year I will have a better time-management as I have already had elaborated some personal strategies. However, I am sure that this year will be more intense as apart from doing several assignments on the studied courses, we will have to concentrate on our thesis.
DuFour, R. (2011). Work together but only if you want to. Kappan, 92(5). 57-61. doi:10.1177/ 003172171109200513
DuFour, R., & Mattos, M. (2013). How do principals really improve schools? The Principalship, 70(7), 34-40.
Fullan, M., & Hargreaves, A. (1992). What’s worth fighting for in your school? Berkshire, England: Open University Press.
Hargreaves, A. and Wignall, R (1989). Time for the teacher: A study of Collegial Relations and Preparation Time Use. Toronto: Ontario Institute For Studies in Education.
Lortie, D. (1975). School Teacher: A Sociological Study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.