A majority of teachers say they don’t have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation.
Collaborative activities such as peer observation and co-planning meetings can give teachers the chance to engage in informal mentoring and informal PD relating to new instructional strategies.
But limited instructional support from principals, teacher isolation, and teacher autonomy as a norm hinder increased teacher collaobration. High-poverty schools seem to have particular trouble supporting professional learning for teachers, according to the report.
The dearth of opportunity for teacher collaboration is especially troubling when looking at high teacher turnover, especially turnover when teachers are in their first few years of teaching. Research shows that new teachers who have experienced teachers as mentors are more likely to remain in the teaching profession.
The report bases its findings on three components of teacher collaboration: the prevalence of opportunities, the frequency of collaboration activities, and the usefulness of collaboration experiences.