Education News in Brief

Teamwork Seen As Key to Gains

By Lisa Fine — February 23, 2010 1 min read

Most principals and teachers say they believe creating school environments that allow educators to work together more would have a “major impact” on improving the chances for student success, according to a new national survey by MetLife Inc. But the specific methods and amount of time allowed for such collaboration among educators vary widely, the poll found.

The 2009 “MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success,” which will be released in three parts, examines the views of teachers, principals, and students about their respective roles, responsibilities, and priorities in schools today. The first part of the survey, released last week and titled “Effective Teaching and Leadership,” examines teachers’ and principals’ views on what collaboration looks like in schools and what impact it has.

The results were based on a national telephone survey of 1,003 K-12 public school teachers, 500 K-12 public school principals, and an online survey of 1,018 public school students in grades 3-12 conducted last fall. Public school principals and teachers, and thought leaders in education, took part in an online strategy session to inform the development of the survey.

Sixty-seven percent of teachers and 78 percent of principals surveyed said more collaboration between teachers and school leaders would have a “major impact” on student achievement.

The potential benefits of greater collaboration, according to some observers, are a better school climate, greater career satisfaction for educators, and higher retention of qualified teachers and administrators. Yet for some educators, collaboration may raise concerns about dilution of individual accountability, infringement on independence in the classroom, or a lack of clear management hierarchies or responsibilities, the report says.

The other two parts of the report are expected to be released in March.

A version of this article appeared in the February 24, 2010 edition of Education Week as Teamwork Seen As Key to Gains