Teacher collaboration in primary school

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.

What challenges have you faced in the first year?
How will this year be different, harder, easier, etc?

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.

Reference list

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.


5 thoughts on “Teacher collaboration in primary school

  1. Dear Meiramgul, this topic is very valuable for me because I met very different atmosphere at school where teachers were not so willing to help young graduates to help in order to adapt to the new working environment. I didn’t have any mentoring help as a result I started working as how I thought it was good. I had many challenges and mistakes at the beginning so this is the reason why I usually help young teachers in my staff now as I realize the importance of collaboration among the staff. I have a question for you : do you think that collaborative work should be compulsory ? but some teachers prefer working individually.


    1. Dear Akzharkyn,
      thank you very much for the comment and sharing with your experience.
      Your question is a very good one. Personally, I am against of anything that is done compulsory against teachers’ willing. However, I think when teachers understand all the benefits of collaboration at school, they will be willing to have a collaborative culture at school.


  2. Dear Miramgul,

    I think that this topic worth a lot of attention and it is incrediably valuable to be studied due to the simple reason: all members of community learn something from each other, it is natural process indeed. Hence teaching and learning can happen only through interaction. Teacher collaboration where there is support to each other, sharing ideas, interacting with each other are the key components which raise teacher’s effectiveness. Any teacher needs support, inspiration and interaction for professional growth, besides reflection among collegues is equally important as well as self-reflection, that is why it is meaningful to understand better what teacher community thinks about collaboration.


  3. Miramgul,

    Great job on this post. You academic writing is clear and organized, and uses a nice variety of sentence structures and vocabulary. You only have a couple minor issues that could be improved in your next post:
    1) Sentence fragment: “However, collaboration at school is very important. Because pure collaborative culture can lead to the school improvement at all stages.” These should be one sentence.

    2) Idea linking: “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).” How does this idea support your previous idea? Try to avoid ending a paragraph with a quote. Instead, add your own commentary and linkage to connect your point with their support.

    3) Overall organization: Instead of answering questions in a list at the end of your post, try to incorporate the supporting ideas with the main purpose. This last part feels like a list, not an essay.



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