Teacher Collaboration in Schools
A careful, complete description of the existing problem and a thorough delineation of the proposed solution
The performance of our students is still unsatisfactory despite the ambitious efforts of the ministry of education to counteract the problem. The government allocates a lot of funds to the education sector. Saudi Arabia is one among the countries with the highest spending in education in international perspectives. However, the performance of the students is continuously poor in international comparison despite all the efforts. The survey conducted by the World Economic Forum based on how to access quality science and mathematics education depict the poor state of knowledge in the country. Based on the results, Saudi Arabia has ranked the 66th country out of a total of 137 countries. Although Saudi Arabia was relatively performing compared to many other countries, the performance displayed by the nation is still wanting based on their objectives and expectations. Saudi Arabia was also ranked at the bottom ten countries out the 76 states that participated in a science and mathematics contest.
A problem is best approached from its root cause. Students’ performance depends on some factors affecting them in both direct and indirect senses. In that regard, discerning the exact cause of poor performance becomes intricate. However, that does not mean, in any way, that the issue is not solvable. Its crystal clear that student’s performance in Saudi Arabia is directly proportional to the quality of teaching offered to them. In that respect, the performance depicts the level and quality of the education system in Saudi Arabia. Teachers are the most crucial factors when it comes to performance. However, teachers don’t have the aptitudes to reciprocate the situation is devoid of support from relevant bodies. In Saudi Arabia, teachers often execute their primary obligations alone without aid. That serves as the rationale as to why employment of teachers in schools does not change student’s performance as it should be. Principles feel that too many teachers are overwhelming, especially when academic states remain constant in their presence. There is a lack of collaboration between teachers with the common goal of helping the students. Therefore, teachers that are considered competent and excellent have no obligations that aim at improving their colleagues to excel.
Learning is a continuous process, not an event. That said, continues commitments of the concerned stakeholders in education is vital. Since numerous stakeholders are involved in the process, the coalition between them is a significant determinant of student’s performance. Allocation of funds to business sectors is not enough, on its own, is devoid of effective utilization of the fund. Employment of many teaching staffs does not guarantee good performance without support and inclusivity. Besides, parents play a pivotal role in the performance of their students. If a student is not supplemented with academic necessities and a good reading environment, then it would be almost impossible to activate good performance. On the other hand, students themselves have the abilities and capabilities within their capacity to read, understand and perform excellently. In that respect, it would be a total zero work if students are not involved in coaching programs to motivate and orient them about the dynamics of education.
Poor education quality can be best approached from the cause perspective. In that regard, teacher’s collaboration appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches with the ability to counteract the quagmire. However, the impact of the proposal can only be actualized when teachers collaborate effectively. Teachers collaboration only occurs when members of a learning fraternity work unanimously to escalate student’s achievements and learning. If the ultimate destination of Saudi Arabia as a nation and educators is students learning and performance, then teacher collaboration is the appropriate journey. However, the partnership is not an obligation to complete and then move on. Instead, the strategy involves an over changing and ongoing process that can only be enhanced by access to advanced technology and social networks (Akin & Neumann, 2013). The most important feature about collaboration is not just about its aptitude to tap into diverse ideas and perspectives, but also enhancement of shared responsibility for learners. The more people and Saudi Arabia as a nation will invest in education, the better the opportunity that students have to be successful. However, the approach goes hand in hand with other relevant theoretical strategies hence should be considered equally vital.
A comprehensive explanation of both the philosophy of education and the learning theories on which the proposed solution is based.
My solution is rooted in organization change theory and teacher collaboration theory. Organization change theories suggest that quality issues are caused by system failure. One of the approaches is system theory. According to the method, every part of an organization is crucial. Therefore, improvement of one piece involves consideration of the relationships worth other parts (Egodawatte et al.2013). Improvement can be made through alteration of organizational aspects such as technology and infrastructure. Organizational development theory emphasizes human process in an organization for enhancement of changes. As the argument notes, regulatory changes depend on the agreement between objectives and individuals. Complexity theory entails systems features with dynamics that are non-linear. The theory holds that its comprehensive for practices to adapt to a system that containing local agents with interaction leading to consistent novel behavior. The last method, social worlds theory, suggest that changes happen as a result of negotiations and renegotiations between more than one social worlds.
The solution to this problem is based on trends in education research, methodologies, social network. The framework provides an understanding of how teacher collaboration approach have the aptitude to induce changes in learning, education and teaching. The theory offers a subsequent synthesis of relevant education school social network and education literature on educators and escalates the comprehension of teaching the school social context. For the last decades, researchers have developed increasing interests in teacher collaborations and interaction with the primary objective of supporting and improving the teaching profession. In recognition and acknowledgement of the dynamic of obligations teachers play in reform enhancement, and curriculum implementation, policymakers and researchers have begun to appreciate the importance in building knowledge of individual teachers and strengthening schools. However, researchers experience many challenges because the concept of teacher collaboration has interfered in a significant sense. The multifaceted interpretation of the framework has resulted in various discourses and widespread of the theory.
Policy makers and researchers have developed a recent approach involving studying teacher collaboration from a social network perspective. By examination of the social network between educators and teachers, Dettmer (et al. 2011) attempts to capture the theory in a way that is more straightforward. One of the prominent ways adopted by the research is studying the pattern involving the social relationship between teachers emanating from functional interactions. Social network perspectives are based on the assumption that the patterns of teacher’s social relationship provide a pertinent framework necessary to examine the extent to which teacher collaboration occurs, that is if it takes place. However, the remaining questions are what precisely the approach offers concerning understanding teacher collaboration, strategies that implementation of the outcomes should be based on and the setbacks of the recommended method.
To comprehend how social network appears to be a crucial aspect in understanding teacher collaboration, many authors and researchers have integrated social capital theory. According to the theory, the web of interactions and relationships among people, or the social structure provides constraints and chances for exchanges of diverse resources. In that respect, people may tap into available resources in the social structure in which they utilize these resources to achieve organization or individual objectives. In this way, social capital theory plays a pivotal role in thinking about the ability of social structure for the acquisition of resources. On the other hand, social networks theory strives to reveal and comprehend specific patterns in the context of social structure and provide objective criteria accounting for its social capital results.
Social network theory has been fueled by the motive of understanding and elaborating a wide range of phenomena of the real world. Such aspects include social prestige and status, social selection and social influence, diseases, diffusion innovation, and substance use. Regarding education, the concept is pertinent in the sense that it can be utilized in shedding light on diverse accepts such as professional learning, leadership, teacher collaboration, communities, teacher induction, and implementation of reforms. Three key assumptions characterize social network research concerning individual’s embeddedness in social structure (Graziano & Navarrete, 2012). One hypothesis that marked social network aspect is that resources such knowledge and information exchange in the process of interaction. Examples of these interactions include asking for advice, helping and collaborating. For instance, teachers often exchange resources such successful educational strategies and instructional materials to avoid daily problems in the classroom.
In the second assumption, the theorists discard the perception that people are entirely independent. Instead, the hypothesis posits that people are entirely dependent since there are embedded in the context of social structure. In reflection, teachers are embedded in their schools in various ways. Teachers embeddedness is manifested at several levels such as dyadic relationships which are based on subgroups which form a social structure such as school. Based on the existence of the interpersonal interdependency among teachers, social network researchers claim that any amendments in a single level such as teacher knowledge have following effects for a level that is higher such as grade level. The third and the last assumption characterizing social network framework is the perception that social networks may offer changes for (but constrain) the actions of organizations or individuals. In the context of a school, teachers may benefit from intangible and tangible resources that flow the social network such as expertise and instructional materials. However, teachers will only benefit from the funds if they are accessible through their social relationships.
An analysis of prior research supporting the proposed solution
My solution is supported by numerous studies. Recently, studies and investigations based on education have been built on a social network framework to comprehend the complex mandates of teachers in facilitating education change and improving teaching. Generally, prior researches provide a clear distinction and comparison between the two research streams in education. The first stream is presented by Kollar (et al.2014) based on an examination of teacher collaboration by analyzing networks in schools. The researcher executed the research based on the connections individuals have regardless of institutional boundaries or formal roles. The second framework is based on an examination of the pattern of social network that exists in a school context. Even though the social network framework can examine teacher collaboration across boundaries, research conducted by Pathak and Intratat (2016), aims at understanding phenomena that are found in the specific bounded group. In that respect, examination of most networks within education context are defined by research-imposed boundaries or formal boundaries.
Kovalik (et al.2011) notes that as teachers come together, they share resources, information, expertise and ideas making learning to be more effective and accessible to students. According to the research, collaboration in the education context means the building of relationships between individuals and working together for the achievement of a common goal. It should be the goal of the stakeholder of education to ensure that students produce better results and succeed. Based on the research conducted by Mendez and Pavon (2012), there is an excellent possibility that the level of academic effort can be aggravating when teachers are collaborative since there are enough teachers in Saudi Arabia, it’s then clear that the lack of collaboration is one of the major causes of poor delivery. Therefore, teachers should be on the same page to match the level of competency they expect and insist that student should meet. The primary objective of my solution is to get teachers co-teaching and co-planning based on a shared vision.
According to Moolenaar (2012) research, it was clear that teacher collaboration, my solution, can be a reality. The author informs that the approach has been implemented in several countries around the world and improved the quality of education. However, there are some challenges that are associated with teacher collaboration method. Therefore, the most critical part of actualizing the strategy is by understanding and acknowledging the nature of the obstacles to be able to eliminate the barriers hinder the development of high-quality teacher collaboration. On this note, Weist (et al.2012) introduces the concept of inclusivity. Every teacher or an educator should be appreciated regardless. Teachers should be including in pertinent process involving education or learning system. In devoid of equality and enhancement of inclusivity, all will be in vain. However, researchers made it clear that their endorsement on the approach does not mean that teachers should be forced to collaborate. Instead, teachers should be granted the opportunity to share information and idea which will combat frustrations and professional loneliness hence improving professional satisfaction and staff morale.
Research conducted by Ronfeldt (2015) shows that technology plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of teacher collaboration. In an examination of the importance of the approach to enhancing education change and improving teaching and learning, social networking theory is useful. In that respect, a technology that enhances social interaction and relation a vital aspect. Data proves that the Profession Learning Network and Profession Learning Communities are beneficial approaches to teacher collaboration that influences learners’ engagement and achievement. In new teacher collaboration, technology plays a central role. Active participation in a PNL on social network grants the user access to experience, resources and knowledge from countless educators. Probably, the educators could not have connected with the immediate professional circle of the user. In that regard, Saudi Arabia to ensure that relevant technology is available and accessible to facilitate implementation of effective teacher collaboration.
A detailed action plan
My solution is exposed to numerous possible challenges in Saudi Arabia. Teacher collaboration has many benefits. However, its crystal clear from the countries that have implemented the that its associated with difficulties. One of the most pervasive challenges is that collaboration is intricate among teachers who have different cultures, philosophies and teaching styles. Akin and Neumann (2013) argues that educational success is less dependent on the same theories. Instead, success is more dependent on willingness to compromise and being open-minded. The difference between teachers regarding philosophies is worse when teachers don’t address the issue. Every teacher should be ready to use the opportunity to improve and widen practice scope by integrating several teaching styles.
Inequalities that is usually manifested in the classroom is another worth challenge consideration. More often than not, teachers specializing in special education strive to present themselves in a way that shows they are equal to their students. The same scenario is also manifested in the middle school system. According to teacher collaboration approach, teachers are anticipated to share the same class. However, a teacher in a unique educational setting will feel completely strange in a general education teacher’s environment. Equality can be fostered through pre-exposures to collaborative education setups.
Saudi Arabia should be ready and willing to invest in student’s education regarding the allocation of more funds. The aim of escalating funds distribution to teaching is to ensure that the resources are available in a ration that provides easy access by all students. The quota between students to teachers still wants despite the steps to employ more students. In that regard, more teachers should be applied in a way that each student will access quality teaching services and consultations. The budget should also consider the approach that is used to train teachers. Teachers are already providing with additional professional and training between two-four Apart from internal teaching programs; the government should allocate more fund to ensure that at least 10000 teachers travel abroad each year for further instruction. That way, teachers will be exposed to the direction of teaching in other countries such as Canada, UK and USA. Integration of relevant foreign approaches into the system in Saudi Arabia will play a pivotal role.
One of the most significant determinants of the quality of learning in any institution is the immediate environment. It’s almost impossible to expect that students will pass while they are not provided with a comfortable desk which corresponds to their ration. Therefore, the budget will and should consider the addition of many desks for students. Scientifically, no one can concentrate while angry. In that regard, the government should initiate programs to offer food to schools which are located in places where parent s is financially disadvantaged and poor. Teachers should be supported through loans and allowances that correspond to the work they do. Vision 2030 will be a reality when teachers are committed to achieving the projections.
The poor performance in Saudi Arabia emanates partly from devoid of collaboration, planning, and time management. In most cases, teachers complain that the time allocated for their lessons are too short compared to the nature of the contents. The scenario is mostly associated with mathematics and sciences. In that regard, the time table should be reconsidered through reduction of time wastage through unnecessary breaks, activities. More time should be created through starting classes and ending them later than the current time. For instance, classes should be starting from 6:00 am instead of 8:00 am and end at 6:00 pm instead of 4:00 pm. The added time should be dedicated to mathematics and science subjects. Mathematics should commence from 6 am to 8 pm and science from 4 pm to 6 pm. This way, students will be granted more attention by their relevant teachers to strengthen their weak subjects. Breaks should be shortened by 10 minutes to create enough time for interaction between teachers and students.
Persuasive arguments to various constituencies
Every stakeholder in the education sector should be persuaded to consider collaborations a priority in our schools. There should be an effective coalition between teachers, administration, students, non-teaching staffs and parents. Partnerships such as additional planning, administrative support, mutual respect and teaching belies are the keys to success. Academic excellence in the responsibility of education constituent. Students should be oriented that their future is in their hands. Whatever they do today determines who or what they will be in tomorrow. When students achieve their goals, the achievement is shared by all constituents in education. Therefore, every component has an obligation that when executed excellently leads to the achievement of the common goal
An evaluation and assessment plan with formative and summative elements that help determine success and problems to guide the proposed solution
There is a close relationship between summative and formative assessments both internally and externally. Evaluation and appraisal of the proposed solution are pertinent regarding determining the success and problem. Teachers, district and site- level administrators are the primary targets. Teachers have the investible mandate of assessment requiring that they should provide reports concerning the progress of their students outside classrooms. Estimates provide supporting and informing instructions to individuals at multiple levels in the school. Also, assessment offers information, data for decisions replacements and serves some accountability reasons. As a facilitator and a couch, teachers apply formative assessment approach to enhance and support students learning. As a jury and judge, the teacher is obliged to judge students via summative judgements at a particular point for reasons such as grading, replacement, informing future teachers and parents about the learner’s performance (Woodland & Hutton, 2012). However, all the elements and purposes of the assessment are always s not supportive and can easily cause conflicts.
As the teachers strive to fulfil their diverse roles as assessors, the tension between summative and formative reasons for assessment cab be great. However, teachers have the aptitude for tailoring assessments for both formative and summative purposes.
One of the strategies that l will apply for evaluation and assessment is a performance assessment. In this case, a student’s performance can be an assessment for every activity they participate. More often than not, performance assessment implies an assessment that is more formal when a particular student is performing an activity. Students are usually given apparatus and are anticipated to design and execute a communication and investigation findings. For instance, the teacher can observe when a student is performing tests for water quality based on the parameters that the student measures. Based on their nature, these types of assessments differ in distinct ways compared to conventions assessment types. For one, this assessment offers the student the opportunity to demonstrate diverse scientific aspects and knowledge.
Portfolios are an assessment tool that is useful while conducting a classroom-based assessment. They are essential in the documentation of student’s achievements and progress and contributes to creating a learning environment that is supportive. According to research, some aspects about the tool offers opportunities for assessment that enhances feedback and relevant assessment discussions which improve work.
Refers to a wide range of approaches that teachers use utilize while evaluating learning needs, students understanding and academic progress during course, unit or a lesson. This assessment method assists the teacher to know the educational concepts that learners barely understands, standards of learning that are yet to be achieved or skills that students get intricate to acquire. Many experts and educators believe that this assessment method is a central part of active learning and teaching. Contrary to most of the formative strategies, which are set apart of instruction on purpose, developmental approaches are integrated into t learning and teaching procedures.
Examples of formative assessment
More often than not, teachers ask questions that aim at identifying specific skills or concepts the students don’t understand. A wide range of intentional questioning methods may be applied such phrasing question to elicit more specific and useful responses. Constructive, detailed and accurate feedback that teachers offer on the work of students such as essays, journal entries, designs, artwork and performance. The input may aim at revising or improving students work. Such questions are posted online via students e-learning portals by their tutors. Students are in a position to provide the desired response to tutor question given the availability and appropriateness of all information is shared to them by the teacher.
Self-assessment through requesting learners to contemplate about their learning process to depict what they struggle with or do well, and to articulate what they still need to study or what they have already learnt to meet learning standards and meet expectations. Peer assessment which is expected through allowing students to use their counterparts as learning resources. Students are able to review their performances and rate their abilities to improve or do well in studies. Peer assessments enable students to evaluate their classmates and inform them the areas that require improvement of more efforts.
Reasons behind the use of formative assessment
To counteract the focus of students on extrinsic reward and grand and refocus them on the intrinsic value of learning. To discourage students about dwelling on their weaknesses and deficits but rather encourage them to build on their strengths. Assist students to come into a realization about their powers, learning needs, their interest so that they can take significant responsibility and accountability over their academic growth.
Akin, I., & Neumann, C. (2013). Identifying proactive collaboration strategies for teacher readiness for marginalized students. Journal of College Teaching & Learning (Online), 10(4), 235.
Dettmer, P., Knackendoffel, A., & Thurston, L. P. (2013). Collaboration, consultation, and teamwork for students with special needs. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Egodawatte, G., McDougall, D., & Stoilescu, D. (2011). The effects of teacher collaboration in Grade 9 Applied Mathematics. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 10(3), 189-209.
Graziano, K. J., & Navarrete, L. A. (2012). Co-teaching in a teacher education classroom: Collaboration, compromise, and creativity. Issues in Teacher Education, 21(1), 109-126.
Kollar, I., Ufer, S., Reichersdorfer, E., Vogel, F., Fischer, F., & Reiss, K. (2014). Effects of collaboration scripts and heuristic worked examples on the acquisition of mathematical argumentation skills of teacher students with different levels of prior achievement. Learning and Instruction, 32, 22-36.
Kovalik, C., Jensen, M., Schloman, B., & Tipton, M. (2011). Information literacy, collaboration, and teacher education. Communications in Information Literacy, 4(2), 4.
Pathak, A., & Intratat, C. (2016). Use of semi-structured interviews to investigate teacher perceptions of student collaboration. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 8(1), 10.
Méndez García, M. D. C., & Pavón Vázquez, V. (2012). Investigating the coexistence of the mother tongue and the foreign language through teacher collaboration in CLIL contexts: perceptions and practice of the teachers involved in the plurilingual programme in Andalusia. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15(5), 573-592.
Moolenaar, N. M. (2012). A social network perspective on teacher collaboration in schools: Theory, methodology, and applications. American Journal of Education, 119(1), 7-39.
Ronfeldt, M., Farmer, S. O., McQueen, K., & Grissom, J. A. (2015). Teacher collaboration in instructional teams and student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 52(3), 475-514.
Weist, M. D., Mellin, E. A., Chambers, K. L., Lever, N. A., Haber, D., & Blaber, C. (2012). Challenges to collaboration in school mental health and strategies for overcoming them. Journal of School Health, 82(2), 97-105.
Woodland, R. H., & Hutton, M. S. (2012). Evaluating organizational collaborations: Suggested entry points and strategies. American Journal of Evaluation, 33(3), 366-383.