Biology teachers’ collaborative experiences: benefits and difficulties in different contexts in relation to perceived value

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Collaboration has the potential to strengthen both professional learning and well-being for teachers. However, it can also bring problematic aspects, such as increased workload and conflicts. The purpose of this study was to explore biology teachers’ experiences of collaboration to better understand how upper secondary school organisations can support teachers to obtain valuable collaborations. By analysing accounts of biology teachers’ experiences of collaborations perceived as valued and less valued, I investigate how benefits and difficulties of the collaborations relate to organisational and situational conditions. Benefits and difficulties in different types of collaborations associated with high and low perceived value from collaborations can help identify ways to lower the cost and increase the gain for teachers in collaborations. The results showed that the chosen valued collaborations were often initiated by the teachers and typically involved benefits relating to both teacher and student learning. In the less valued collaborations, benefits were narrower, impacting teachers or students. The importance of structure was emphasised in most collaborations but management support appeared more important in interdisciplinary collaborations involving more than three teachers, while personal affinity between collaborators appeared more important in collaborations involving two or three teachers. Continuity was emphasised in order to give time for consensus and structure to develop, or to sustain discussions on important issues. Overall, this study shows that while continuity appeared important for developing valued collaborations, it can be difficult to obtain. Focusing on biology teachers’ experiences of benefits and difficulties in relation to more or less valued collaborations can help school organisations prioritise support, time and resources for professional development to allow for continuity in valuable collaborations that can strengthen the quality of biology education.

Sidor (från-till)1089-1113
TidskriftCultural Studies of Science Education
Tidigt onlinedatum2022
StatusPublished - 2022

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