What Do Leaders and Teachers Believe About Collective Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Collaboration? - Steve Barkley

What Do Leaders and Teachers Believe About Collective Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Collaboration?

Research has identified that collective teacher efficacy is among the highest influences on student achievement. Teachers who believe in their collective ability to impact student learning can create a more positive school climate, set high expectations, and effectively engage students. When teachers have a strong sense of collective efficacy, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work. Teachers who believe that working together can lead to successful outcomes are more likely to share strategies, support each other, and engage in professional learning communities.

Is your leadership team in agreement concerning your staff’s current sense of collective efficacy and collaboration? To what extent are the current staff beliefs sufficient to generate the desired impact on student success? Should your leadership team establish a purposeful plan for strengthening the sense of collective efficacy and collaboration?

Consider choosing some questions from this list (supported by ChatGPT) to explore first as a leadership team and then use some of them to guide a conversation with staff? Teachers sharing their responses in small mixed groups across grade levels or departments and then as a whole staff may provide important information for your leadership team. A few questions over several opportunities might be most valuable.

  • Do you believe that collaborating with your colleagues can lead to improved student outcomes? Why or why not?
  • How often do you engage in collaborative planning or teaching with your colleagues?
  • Can you share an example of a successful outcome from a collaborative effort with your peers?
  • What are the main barriers to effective collaboration in our school?
  • How supported do you feel by the administration in seeking collaborative opportunities?
  • In what ways could our school improve the structures or times available for teacher collaboration?
  • How does teacher collaboration influence your sense of efficacy in impacting student learning?
  • Do you feel that collaborative efforts are recognized and valued within our school community?
  • What resources or supports do you need to collaborate more effectively with your colleagues?
  • How can we foster a stronger culture of collaboration within our school?
  • How important do you think it is for teachers to share a common belief in their ability to achieve educational goals as a team?
  • How strongly do you believe that the combined efforts of our teaching staff can lead to significant improvements in student learning? Can you describe an instance where collaboration among teachers in our school led to positive outcomes for students?
  • How confident are you in our staff’s ability to collectively influence the academic and social development of our students?
  • Do you feel that the collective actions of our teachers can make a difference in addressing the needs of diverse learners? Why or why not?
  • In what ways do you think teacher collaboration impacts our collective efficacy and student outcomes?
  • What barriers, if any, do you perceive in building or sustaining collective efficacy among our staff? How can we, as a school, enhance our sense of collective efficacy to better support student achievement?
  • Do you believe that the success of our students is a reflection of our collective efforts and efficacy as educators? Please explain.

I have had a long-time belief that teaching is a team sport and therefore needs to be a public act with my colleagues. As tasks become more complex and challenging, the need for effective teamwork becomes more critical. My teaching career began and continued over ten years, always teaching as part of a team. My experiences convinced me that students were better served by a team rather than by a group of individuals. The complexity of teaching from those days to today has risen many folds. In my classroom days teaming provided an advantage. I believe that today it is a necessity.

My vision for instructional coaching transcends individual teacher achievement, focusing on the collective growth and efficacy of teacher teams. When teaching teams collaborate and develop collective efficacy with other teams across the school and even among schools increasing numbers of students reap the rewards. Here are some coaching practices that can help build teacher collaboration and collective efficacy:

  • facilitating classroom observations and discussions about instructional strategies can create a platform for teachers to share insights and learn from each other’s experiences.
  • highlighting and celebrating achievements resulting from teachers’ collaborative efforts strengthens teacher’s belief in the power of working together for student success.
  • steering PLC discussions to focus on student learning outcomes as shared team goals ensuring that collective efforts are aligned with achieving them.
  • providing supportive feedback and resources that empower teacher teams to tackle challenges and enhance student learning.

What is your leadership team’s assessment on the current level of teacher collaboration and collective efficacy? If it positively increased, what would you see and hear? What actions will leadership team members take to support that development?

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