Author Tan, Li Ping
Title Teachers' collaboration in relation to their professional growth.
Institute Thesis (M.Ed.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Year 2003
Supervisor Chen, Ai Yen
Call no. LB1027 Tan
The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it inquires into the circumstances and intrinsic factors that promote a culture of collaboration between four teachers from three different schools. These teachers are the key participants in this study. They were appointed as Project Work Co-ordinates when their respective schools had to implement Project Work in the secondary school curriculum. Second, the study probes into how such collaborations eventually lead to their professional growth.

This is an action research that takes on an ethnographic perspective with an emergent design and theoretical framework. The researcher was the participant-observer during the period of the study. Qualitative data was collected from notes made by the researcher during her observations of events, and the reflections she wrote in her journal. At the final stage of the study, three semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted to solicit details from the key participants. Two other participants who were Project Work Co-ordinators in another school were also interviewed for triangulation purposes. Purposive sampling was done for this study.

The circumstances and intrinsic factors essential in promoting a culture of collaboration are more easily identified than effected due to its complex nature. Through a detailed study like this, a deeper understanding of the nature of collaboration was achieved which could contribute to a more informed professional practice and better decision-making at all levels of the education system when future initiatives are introduced. In another finding, collaborations exposed teachers to a diversity of personality, perspectives, attitudes and skills required for ill-structured authentic problem-solving. Friendship and mutual trust act as the social glue that kept synergy alive. It served both as a scaffold and a cheerleader in a challenging situation. Successive cycles of problem-solving in such supportive environment allowed the teachers to hone their skills, to probe into their own educational philosophy, and to gain a deeper and more holistic understanding of their profession