Teacher collaboration is an important component of long-term career development for educators across the United States.   For example, collaborative activities (such as peer observation and co-planning meetings) can provide opportunities for teachers to engage in informal mentoring with more-experienced and more-effective colleagues, experiment with new instructional approaches, and co-construct understandings of policies and practices — which, in turn, can shape their teaching practice.

However, little is known about teacher collaboration across multiple settings in the United States, and differences based on poverty rates have not been examined with nationally representative data. Based on data from a survey of a nationally representative sample of K–12 teachers in the United States that was conducted in the fall of 2016, this report explores the prevalence of teacher collaboration in schools across the United States and assesses the extent to which teacher collaboration varies in schools with different levels of students in poverty.

Below are a few of the key findings:

  • Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.
  • Teachers who reported having greater opportunities and time for collaboration consistently reported higher levels of collaboration activity, regardless of the type of collaboration in question.

Below are a few of the key recommendations:

  • State and local educational agencies, along with school leaders, should work on providing more opportunities for greater collaboration among peers.
  • Increase the time available for teachers to participate in collaborative activities, such as peer observation and common planning time; provide protocols to guide collaboration; and provide scaffolding for meaningful follow-through on an ongoing basis.

Read the full article about teacher collaboration by William R. Johnston and Tiffany Tsai at RAND.