Most of the current major educational reforms call for extensive, meaningful teacher collaboration. In these reforms, teacher collaboration is essential: teachers are expected to work together to alter the curriculum and pedagogy within their teaching practices.
Teacher collaboration, however, is a departure from existing norms, and, in most schools, teachers are colleagues in name only. They work out of sight and sound of one another, plan and prepare their lessons and materials alone, and struggle on their own to solve their instructional, curricular, and management problems.
To break the isolation of the classroom and bring career rewards and daily satisfactions, we have launched a group professional development project; a project in which teachers’ participation is important as it influences each other’s learning experiences in the group. Therefore, the way the teachers participate and interact with each other can be considered as an important factor of their own learning as well as the development of their group understands. In fact, some teachers play a significant role in helping the group move forward and make a pivotal contribution to the group. These teachers serve as key members by creating learning opportunities not only for themselves but also for the whole group.
By actively participating in the project, teachers, novice and experienced, utilize the project opportunities to develop their expertise of teaching even though they have different backgrounds, experiences, interests, and goals. Together they will be aware of their struggles, set a solid goal to improve their teaching, and want to resolve their teaching problems through the project.
Being an active participant in a professional development project for teachers, one will certainly feel ‘alive’, active problem solver, flexible teaching thinker, and reflective practitioner. Being an active participant, you will not only make your own learning opportunities maximize, but also provide opportunities for the group of the teachers to establish shared meanings about teaching and project pedagogy.
All in all, the teachers’ project provides opportunities to develop one’s expertise of teaching practices. It also produces greater coherence and integration to the daily work of teaching. Further, it equips individual teachers, groups of teachers, and their schools for steady improvement. In short, it helps to organize the school as an environment for learning to teach.
Little, J.W. (1987). Teachers as colleagues.
Little, J.W. (1990, Summer). The persistence of privacy: Autonomy and initiative in teachers' professional relations.
Schmidt, B.J. (1992, October). Collaborative efforts