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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Making sense of teacher collaboration : a case study of two teachers’ engagement in clinical supervision Langmuir, David Allan


The study addresses the process of teacher development in the context of close collegial relations. It is a case study of two teachers, Mary and Sadie, who worked collaboratively over two school years in a series of reciprocal cycles of clinical supervision. The main purposes the teachers held for the process were to develop their understanding about their teaching practices in order to grow professionally and to acquire new skills in supervision. Their beliefs, behaviours, and knowledge contributed to shape their relationship and serve their respective needs for growth. An interpretive methodology was employed. The research approach was derived from the theoretical perspective of George Herbert Mead (1932, 1934, 1938). This provided for an analytical description and interpretation of the meanings and knowledge constructed socially by the participating teachers about clinical supervision, collegiality and teacher development. It also enabled the identification of a number of factors which influenced the teachers' development in the context of a collegial relationship. The teachers practiced new behaviours in an unfamiliar context of close colleagueship in order to incorporate research-based knowledge into their practical working lives. They devoted considerable effort and attention during the first year to the mechanics of clinical supervision in order to become more proficient with the process. In the second year of the study, the teachers explicitly rejected the term "clinical supervision" in favour of "reflective conferencing". The new terminology reflected their deeper understanding about the processes of collaboration and reflection. As their relationship, knowledge and skills developed, they became more thoughtful about collaboration and purposeful about facilitating each other's development. The teachers discovered that change takes time and occurs incrementally. Trust was required from both colleagues, in the process and in each other, as they took turns observing each other teach and then meeting to discuss matters related to their instructional practice. A culture of collaboration took hold, albeit more slowly than either had envisioned. Through repeated practice in reflective conferencing, they acquired an appreciation of the challenges and benefits of collaboration for the promotion of teacher development.

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