The relationship between teacher collaboration and teacher well-being

In this digital age, where ideas and information flow rapidly, it has become more easier than ever for educators to work together. This article explores the connection between teacher collaboration and teacher well-being.

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In this digital age, where ideas and information flow rapidly, it has become more easier than ever for educators to work together, bolstering each other's pedagogical practices and ultimately their students' learning experience. This article explores the connection between teacher collaboration and teacher well-being. We'll delve into the research, providing insights that demonstrate how collaboration can positively impact the lives of educators which then also positively impacts their students.

💡 Lessons learnt: Knowledge is power, community is strength

The Importance of Teacher Collaboration

When teachers work together, they share the workload and create a support network that can help them manage the various challenges that come with the profession. It's not just about sitting in the same staff room or sharing anecdotes during coffee breaks; it's a purposeful and concerted effort to enhance each other's teaching practices and, by extension, student outcomes. Studies conducted by Darling-Hammond (2017) reveal that teachers who engage in regular collaborative activities report higher levels of job satisfaction. They also tend to stay in the profession longer. This suggests a strong link between collaboration and teacher retention, which is a significant concern in the field of education. Teachers who feel supported, appreciated, and connected to their colleagues are more likely to remain committed to their profession.

Countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, Hungary, and others allocate a considerable amount of time to foster teacher collaboration (OECD, 2004). For instance, Finland's 2016 curriculum reform explicitly emphasizes the importance of a "collaborative atmosphere" to enhance school improvement, where cross-disciplinary collaboration aligns with the curriculum's objectives, particularly teacher competence development (Halinen, 2015). The United States similarly places a considerable value on teacher collaboration, with Melanie Hirsh noting that state and federal policies actively support and facilitate regular teacher collaboration, providing essential resources to ensure its effectiveness (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009).

Research has consistently demonstrated a positive and significant link between teacher collaboration and job satisfaction (cf. OECD, 2014; Mostafa and Pál, 2018), which is a fundamental component of effective teaching. Johnson (2003) identified "significant emotional and psychological advantages associated with close collaboration in teams" (p. 343) when it comes to planning, discussions, and collaborative work.

Ways to foster Effective Teacher Collaboration

It's important to note that the success of these strategies hinges on a supportive school culture that values collaboration and the availability of important tools and resources to streamline and ease such interactions. Without the right environment, even the best strategies may not yield the desired results.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): Professional learning communities are structured groups of educators who come together to discuss their teaching practices and student outcomes, and share ideas. Research by Hord and Sommers (2008) has shown that PLCs are an effective way to promote collaboration among teachers. By engaging in regular meetings, teachers can discuss their challenges, share successful strategies, and plan interventions to support struggling students.

Mentoring Programs: Establishing mentoring programs within schools can facilitate collaboration between experienced and novice teachers. This not only supports the growth of new educators but also fosters connections and knowledge sharing among staff. A study by Ingersoll and Strong (2011) highlights the benefits of mentorship in reducing feelings of isolation and promoting overall well-being.

Peer Observation and Feedback: Encouraging teachers to observe and provide feedback to their colleagues can be a powerful way to enhance collaboration. Research by Showers and Joyce (1996) indicates that peer observation when focused on growth and development, can lead to improved teaching practices and job satisfaction.

Interdisciplinary Projects: Creating opportunities for teachers from different subjects to collaborate can enhance their sense of well-being. Interdisciplinary projects allow teachers to explore creative and innovative ways to engage students and expand their own knowledge. A study by Johnson (2009) underscores the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in schools.


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Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R. C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad. National Staff Development Council.

Halinen, I. (2015). What is Going on in Finland? – Curriculum Reform 2016 [Blog post]. Retrieved from the Finnish National Agency of Education Blog:

Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R., Adree, A., Richardson, N., and Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad. National Staff Development Council. Retrieved from: (accessed April 6, 2019).

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Johnson, D. W. (2003). Education by design. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5-9.

Mostafa, A. M. S., & Pál, M. (2018). Interactions between teacher collaboration, job satisfaction, and teaching efficacy of novice teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 74, 164-176.

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