Rachel Schiera, doctoral candidate in Curriculum and
Instruction, under the mentorship of Sue Rieg, Department
of Professional Studies in Education,
presented the paper “Collegial professional development: Collaborative
teaching in a school in the Middle East” at the 2016 New England Educational
Research Organization Conference, in April in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
In the 21st-century classroom model, students are increasingly asked to collaborate,
communicate, think critically, and be creative in the classroom. To facilitate
these “soft skills”, teachers are asked to teach collaboratively while also
promoting engagement and delivering subject matter content.
presented a paper that spotlights content teachers’ experiences when
transitioning from an environment with limited collaboration between teachers
into a highly collaborative teaching environment. Using the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
guidelines for collaboration (2006), Rachel examined teachers’ experiences when
collaborating with other content teachers.
presented an overview of the adjustments and challenges of collaborating teachers,
identified institutional characteristics that support content teachers’
collaboration, and described how the theory of heutagogy (Hase & Kenyon,
2000) can help guide schoolwide professional development initiatives which aim
at creating more collaborative workplaces.
phenomenological study approach, Rachel demonstrated that, for a group of
multinational teachers in the Middle East, colleagues were perceived as playing
the most important role in teachers’ acceptance of and adjustment to institutional
requirements for collaboration.