Towards an Ecology of Teacher Collaboration on Research

  • Colleen McLaughlin
Part of the Professional Learning and Development in Schools and Higher Education book series (PROD, volume 7)


Collaboration has become a sine qua non of reform and educational policymaking. Studies of teacher learning and collaboration have taught us a great deal about the complexity of collaboration, especially around research, showing the delicacy, range of influences and interwoven nature of the work. I argue that we should adopt an ecological approach to understanding and researching teacher collaboration, by which is meant an adaptation of Uri Bronfenbrenner’s approach to human development, i.e. the dynamic between the person, their environment and the wider contexts of their lives (Bronfenbrenner, ‘Ecological Systems Theory’, in R. Vasta (Ed.), Six Theories of Child Development, 1992). The chapter opens with an exploration of the increased emphasis on collaboration in the world of education, followed by what we know about the conditions and impact, as well as the challenges and benefits, of teachers collaborating. Finally, there is a discussion of collaboration on research, illustrated with some thoughts from teachers. I conclude by arguing for an ecological approach to teacher collaboration: an approach that takes into account the forces of influence in teachers’ lives and the tensions and dilemmas created by this ecology.


Support Staff Ecological Approach Teacher Learning Teacher Research Teacher Collaboration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cambridge UniversityCambridgeUK

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