Site-Based Collaborative Groups

Now is the Time for a collaborative group in Your School

With an increasing number of retirements, there are both more new teachers and a declining number of experienced teachers in schools. The Teachers’ Loft can establish and facilitate a collaborative group for your first-year teachers or entire faculty.

Each Collaborative Group is customized to your needs. You may require a group dedicated solely to moving first year teachers from preparation to practice such as our Next Educational Wave (NEW) Teachers’ Collaborative, or a group fostering professional growth and effective practice through inquiry driven professional learning groups for those in at least their second year of teaching. The Teachers’ Loft can also arrange a complete induction support sequence.

Why Teachers Should Be Involved In A Collaborative Group

A collaborative group is a faculty, or sub-group of teachers, who commit to meeting together over time to examine their teaching practices. A member of The Teachers’ Loft facilitates and participates in the collaborative group. Along with the facilitator, each group member will contribute to the direction and perpetuation of the group by their active membership and via individual inquiry projects.

The purpose of a collaborative group is to:

  • Provide an environment for teachers to critically examine their own classroom practice;
  • Provide teachers with opportunities to learn and develop professionally;
  • Keep teachers professionally vibrant and renewed through the decidedly trying profession of teaching;
  • Retain teachers, especially during the first three years that research shows is a period of high attrition;
  • Serve preK-12 students by creating and sustaining a teaching culture of inquiry and responsiveness.

What does make a difference is reculturing: the process of developing professional learning communities in the school. Reculturing involves going from a situation of limited attention to assessment and pedagogy to a situation in which teachers and others routinely focus on these matters and make associated improvements. Structures can block or facilitate this process, but the development of a professional community must become the key driver of improvement. When this happens, deeper changes in both culture and structure can be accomplished.

From “The Three Stories of Educational Reform” by Michael Fullan, April, 2000

Individual inquiry projects provide an opportunity for each teacher to focus her/his inquiry on a topic of need and interest for professional growth. Each inquiry project is a means for bringing a piece of the individual’s teaching practice to the group for response and reflection.

By supporting teachers in an organized and sustained study of their own practice, we know from experience that:

  • Meaningful inquiry starts where the interest and action are located;
  • Teacher voices and work are central sources of knowledge;
  • Professional inquiry leads to personal and professional change;

Establishing a Collaborative Group:

Each collaborative group is tailored to meet the needs of the individual and institution. The following should be considered when starting a group(s).

Numbers of Teachers per Group: Between 8 and 15 people offer a sustainable and generative group size.

Duration and Frequency of Collaborative Group Meetings: A 2 hour meeting time is recommended. Collaborative groups meet on a monthly basis unless individuals and the institution can commit to bi-weekly meetings.

Location of Collaborative Group Meetings: Collaborative groups take place at The Teachers’ Loft in Easthampton unless otherwise arranged. If travel and/or release time are an issue, The Teachers’ Loft will come to your school site.

Cost: A per teacher fee is determined based on duration, frequency and location of group meetings and the pre-established group needs.

For more information contact:

Paige M. Bray