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Teacher collaboration, differing expectations, and emotions in school improvement: “It’s always take, take, take”

Hayley Weddle (Department of Education Studies, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)
Marie Lockton (Department of Education Studies, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)
Amanda Datnow (Department of Education Studies, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)

Journal of Professional Capital and Community

ISSN: 2056-9548

Article publication date: 21 August 2019

Issue publication date: 16 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

While the benefits of teacher collaboration are well documented, less is known about how emotions intersect with teachers’ collective work. Educational change is an emotional process, as reform efforts often involve shifts in teachers’ daily routines and professional identities. To better understand these complexities, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the emotional dimensions of teachers’ collaborative efforts to improve instruction.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on qualitative data, this longitudinal case study of one teacher team explores how teacher collaboration for instructional improvement intersects with emotional geographies. Data analyzed include three years of meeting observations and annual interviews with teachers and school leaders.

Findings

An analysis of data reveals how emotions both shaped and were shaped by teachers’ collaboration experiences. Varying beliefs about practice, expectations about collective work and identity (in this case, gender) impacted collaboration and subsequently opportunities for instructional improvement.

Practical implications

This study demonstrates how attending to the emotional aspects of teacher collaboration could serve as an effective strategy for bolstering capacity-building efforts. Findings highlight the interplay between emotional geographies, suggesting that common ground across one geography could potentially be built upon to close gaps across others.

Originality/value

This study provides a unique longitudinal exploration of the emotional dimensions of teachers’ collective work. The study also contributes to new knowledge about the ways in which teachers’ emotions and collaborative experiences intersect, including the interplay between emotional geographies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to sincerely thank the participants of this study who generously gave time to share their experiences and welcomed the authors into their work settings. The research reported here is derived from a broader project supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Citation

Weddle, H., Lockton, M. and Datnow, A. (2019), "Teacher collaboration, differing expectations, and emotions in school improvement: “It’s always take, take, take”", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 325-343. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-03-2019-0005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited