What is our story of collaboration within a distributed leadership team: what is working and why? A look at a cross-curricular team using collaboration to enhance student learning
Working on a team purposefully formed by formal leaders to better support students’ first year in high school as well as allow team members to work collaboratively to deliver this program inspired me to research the perspective of this B.C. team. This qualitative study was designed to explore the team’s story of collaboration. I used both participant surveys and focus group research to capture the team’s definitions of its successes and challenges. At the same time, the study reviewed the team and formal leaders’ choice to use a distributive leadership model. The literature internationally points to collaboration amongst teachers as a way to help them better meet students’ learning needs, better help support each other’s professional growth and at the same time take risks to innovate their practice to better ensure all students spend the year learning. Moreover, the literature suggests that having teachers take ownership of change helps focus the work on the needs of students and invigorates teachers’ job satisfaction. Such efforts, according to the literature, require a balance between the work of formal leaders and teachers to make collaboration work. Both the survey and focus group data sets along with the researcher’s own field notes were analysed for common themes. Linking the literature to the emerging themes about collaboration and distributive leadership reinforced that such collaborative opportunities, when teacher-driven, enrich student learning and teachers’ excitement for their job. Like all recipes, the team said the prescription for collaboration requires careful attention to subtle details and the overall blend of the ingredients. The researcher noted that the ideas of individual commitment, a common focus on improving learning for students, a chance to innovate and the members comfort with challenges inherent in collaboration drove the success they described.
Identifier (Other)DOI: 10.25316/IR-3181
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