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Apr 20, 2015 08:35 PM EDT

The Classroom Is A Lonely Place For Many Teachers

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New research suggests that educators in the United States lag behind their international peers in collaborative, team approaches.

Researchers at Boston College found that teachers continue to work largely in isolation. According to a massive Teaching and Learning International Survey, teachers report that they engage less often in collaborative efforts viewed as beneficial to both teachers and students.

"TALIS is teaching us the value of professional collaboration among teachers in terms of its benefits for both students and teachers, but we need to know more about what kinds of collaboration are more effective than others," said professor Andrew Hargreaves, part of an American Educational Research Association annual meeting panel examining TALIS today.

According to the survey, which involved 100,000 teachers, school leaders and policymakers from 34 countries, 53 percent of U.S. teachers reported they never teach with a colleague in the same classroom, compared to 42 percent of the international sample. Half of U.S. teachers report they rarely observe their peers teaching or provide feedback to colleagues.

Based on the survey, approximately 42 percent of teachers in the United States said they never undertake joint projects across classes or grade levels, compared to just 22 percent of teachers internationally.

"TALIS evidence on the U.S. shows that high numbers of teachers are experiencing the impact of accountability for results but insufficient support to work together so they can achieve those results," said Hargreaves, recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Education.

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