Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Steven Block

Second Supervisor

Pamela Njapa-Minyard

Abstract

Research has confirmed that teachers who work collaboratively have the opportunity to exchange ideas and instructional methods to enhance their performance in the classroom. Using this as a guiding premise, the purpose of this study was to better understand teacher attitudes toward collaboration in an independent school setting. The study examined the complexities of collaboration in an effort to make a connection between collaboration among teachers and teacher learning. The study sought to identify the conditions that support opportunities for collaboration employing the definition and framework for a professional learning community. The setting for the study was a K-8 independent day school serving families in a suburban area located in New York. Through the use of semi-structured interviews, ten experienced teachers described their own lived experiences of collaboration in an independent school. Findings from this study revealed factors that are integral to establishing the conditions for collaboration in independent schools and provided data to support the implementation of certain structures and behaviors to improve organizational goals within independent schools. Recommendations resulting from this study included replicating the study in larger independent school organizations with a broader student population in order to further explore the impact of school size and composition. This type of study could also be conducted nationally in independent schools using quantitative methods to identify best practice for collaboration. Other recommendations include the development of formal and informal structures to support collaborative work among teachers; the implementation of teacher training in collaborative practice; attention to the communication of shared vision within the school community; reinforcement of attributes of school culture; and, leadership training and support of collaborative practice.

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