Teacher Collaboration: Not an Option

  • Elementary
Denise Renteria

My foundation year of teaching was August 1990 when the modus operandi was teachers finding curriculum, planning and assessing all on our own. Curriculum drove planning and assessments. In 1991 when Ms. Honeycutt (across the hall from me) and I would pull our classes together so her students could be 'mainstreamed' with my classes, there was no intentional planning behind our efforts. We just knew it was the right thing to do for ALL students in both classrooms and so it was a short conversation about what colors, letters and numbers we were studying in pre-kindergarten that week, and what days her students would come over. Done. Like the saying goes in Spanish, "Dicho y hecho" (Said and done).

Unbeknownst to me, right around this time there was research by Albert Bandura about self-efficacy and collective efficacy.He defines collective efficacy as “a group’s shared belief in the conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given levels of attainment.” Bandura found that the positive effects of CTE (Collective Teacher Efficacy) on student academic performance more than outweigh the negative effects of low socioeconomic status. (Hattie, https://visible-learning.org/2018/03/collective-teacher-efficacy-hattie/)

Wait.Just.A.Minute! This bears looking at again.

Bandura found that the positive effects of CTE on student academic performance more than outweigh the negative effects of low socioeconomic status.

Bandura's groundbreaking research has been corroborated many times by others since the early 1990s, through the 2000s and even researched more in-depth through meta-analysis. Rachel Jean Eells’ 2011 Ph.D thesis at Loyola University Chicago (pdf) research of Collective Teacher Efficacy is more than making teachers feel good about what we are doing and more complex than the idea that what we do makes a difference for students. "As teachers feel empowered to do great things, great things happen." (Eells 2011) When great things begin to happen teachers see they have the collective ability to positively impact student outcomes within their school. CTE is like a powerful positive feedback loop that re-energize school staff. Teams feel empowered, positive and optimistic because they feel they have the power to positively impact student success. It is this belief and the actions taken within this belief to collaboratively plan, assess and teach that then positively impacts student achievement.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, ELL, migrant or immigrant designation CTE makes a difference. Let that sink in.

World renown researcher John Hattie has seen CTE make so much of a difference on student achievement and outcome that he now ranks it as the number One influence on student achievement. More than two times the impact of feedback and three times more effect than classroom management. Hattie rates CTE to have an effect size of d=1.57, feedback is d=0.72 and classroom management's effect is d=0.52. (Hattie) What does this mean, exactly? Through decades of research Hattie ranks influences related to student outcomes on a scale from very negative to very positive, with .4 being the average effect size, or hinge for most interventions. Within this context one can see how big of an effect CTE truly is. To view Hattie's updated 2018 list of influences and their effect please click here https://visible-learning.org/hattie-ranking-influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/

So here's the question: How is CTE at your school? Or better, IS CTE an influence at your school?

If CTE is an influence at your school please share what you're doing here! We can all benefit from your sharing.

If CTE is not even a 'thing' at your school, you are not alone. Taking research into action on the ground is an intentional and dedicated practice. Where to start? What to do? How do staff in schools begin to acquire Collective Teacher Efficacy? I will share what we began at my Title 1 school and how it has affected our CTE and student achievement in future blogs.

Hasta luego!

  • Teacher Collaboration
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