One of the most important things a school must nurture is a culture of collegiality.
When teams work well together they punch above their weight. The inverse is also true. Look at any sporting team you know where there is discord or disorganisation and the results speak for themselves.
In schools or any other people focused learning community, the greater the collegiality the better the quality of educational outcomes.
This is realised both in terms of academic advancement but more importantly character enhancement.
School leadership has an absolute moral responsibility not to leave this to chance but to provide structure and resources where collegiality is shaped and supported as a priority area.
Many schools who take the approach that staff collegiality will work itself out do so at their peril. Teaching is a high pressure job and nothing rocks the apple cart more than a lack of collegiality.
I wrote in this book review earlier this year that…
Schools with outstanding leadership tend to effectively manage conflict resolution, professionally and justly. But not all schools have leaders of that calibre, and things can quite quickly spiral out of control unless situations are harmonised between educators.
It is nigh on impossible to effectively collaborate without an environment of collegiality.
Studies have been conducted highlighting the importance of collegiality in teaching.
In the conclusion to this study of the literature of this area, it states…
- Teacher collegiality is necessary in an era of continuous change and improvement.
- It is seen as an opportunity to involve many individuals in solving the complex educational problems of modern times.
- A wider range of demands can be addressed by using a collaborative approach than by individual, isolated efforts.
- Schools that do not support collegiality among their staff and allow their teachers to work alone in their classrooms waste human resources and contribute to disenchantment with teaching as a career.
- It is warned that collegiality in any organisation does not happen by chance; it needs to be structured, taught, and learned.
- It is pointed out that laying the groundwork for a collaborative and collegial culture collection of superstar teachers working in isolation cannot produce the same results as interdependent colleagues.
- The process of collegiality is likely to work only when a significant number of teaching personnel at a specific school becomes convinced that it will actually lead to improved teaching and learning.
- The overall analysis of the research studies on teacher collegiality determines that effective collegiality in schools is a vital source of enhancement in staff professional growth, student learning, and organisational effectiveness.
It behoves us to consider, with due reflection, the shape of our own school communities in this area.