The group was asked what they thought collaborative teacher enquiry was.
- One suggestion was – an approach to research that turns personal enquiry into joint enquiry.
What did they see as the difference between individual and collaborative teacher enquiry?
- Noted that the National Centre TEFP [Teacher Enquiry Funded Project] reports were often not collaborative even if the enquirers had worked with others, as the final reports were the work of individuals.
- National Centre MKN [Mathematics Knowledge Network] projects were given as examples of how groups of teachers work collaboratively to specifically reflect on their practice and what they learnt collectively.
What were the features of successful collaborative enquiry?
- collaboration was important in both the planning and observation stages of enquiry
- analysing and reviewing
- at least three or more teachers involved
- time to reflect together and individually – as there will always be the need to work alone at times.
What would be useful for teachers in schools?
- teachers need to be clear what is ‘collaborative’ and what is ‘individual’ work when they go away and work on their own
- collaborative work is great as it moves teachers on. Secondary teachers often feel isolated but given the opportunity to work as a group and view others’ lessons – this is highly valued
- buying in an expert to trigger discussion – National Centre RECME project highlighted that this was a major catalyst in starting rich discussions
Is collaboration a good thing?
- yes, but it needs to be done effectively to get the most benefits
- it is one aspect of effective CPD and part of a rich range of approaches and activities.
What attracts people to engage in collaborative teacher enquiry?
- to be inspired and as an ongoing resource in the school
- basic curiosity
- difference between those who see teaching as a vocation rather than a job
- desire to find out why
Benefits of Lesson Study as a form of collaborative enquiry (mentioned the study models from Japan, Scandinavia and Australia):
- highly effective but quite a cost burden for schools
- excellent way of sharing good practice with peers
- helps to change way teachers think and how they perform in the classroom
- mostly enjoyable for teachers as not seen as critical but more inspiring and observation focused
- common focus with a shared outcome
- need to encourage heads to take classes to free teacher time for Lesson Study etc – needs whole-school backing.
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What makes collaborative teacher enquiry different to individual teacher enquiry?
- collaborative teacher enquiry – at least three teachers
- focus on the process as well as the resources
- joint aims
- gives one the confidence
- sharing of good practice
- lesson observation/collaboration in lesson preparation.
What is Collaborative Professional Development, how does it start, what is needed?
- working together and perhaps moving in different ways than if you had done it individually
- need some sort of catalyst to start
- need a culture that encourages it
- a broker to bring the group together – head of maths?
- funding – is useful!
Why is it so hard to get going?
- teachers trying to prioritise
- need to see value of it and buy into it
- lack of support at school – often need an inspiring head to encourage others.
What is it that turns enquiry into practice?
- saves time in the long run
- support and structure from LA or school leaders
- funding helps but is not essential
What does teacher enquiry mean?
- by examining your practice you can evaluate yourself and see if you are doing wrong or right/good or bad. By working collaboratively your peers can help you assess these things
- collaborative conclusions are usually good at raising standards of results rather than individuals.
Under what conditions do you find it attractive to work collaboratively?
- strong leadership
- culture of trust
- being open to risks
- schools with more trainee teachers are more open as trainers more prone to share practice.