The study involves a middle school in southeastern Georgia, which identifies three collegial interactions. The three identified in the study included: study teams, coaching and mentoring. The study involved 34% of the certified faculty at Bacon County Middle School. The randomly selected participants’ years of experience ranged from: 1 participant less than 5 years; 2 participants with 5 to 10 years experience; 4 with 10 to 15 years of experience and 3 with more than 20 years. Collectively, they hold 1 doctorate degree, 5 masters degrees, and 4 specialists degrees which cover a wide range of academic fields including mathematics, language arts, special education, counseling, health and careers. Some of the works by Linn (2000), Fisher (2000) and Marzano (2002) provide insight on study teams and collegial interactions. A school’s professional development plan or corrective action plan is a sure way for improving the quality and equity of teacher and student learning.
A Triangulated Study for Bacon County Middle School
The strength of a triangulated study lies in its triangulation, collecting information in many ways, rather than relying solely on one source (Wolcott, 1988 as cited in Mills, 2003). Data was collected through a questionnaire, survey, and the schools professional development plan. The purpose of this study was to describe collegial interactions at Bacon County Middle School. Marzano (2003) found that collegial behavior involves teachers who are supportive of each other and openly enjoy professional interactions and are respectful of each other’s needs. In particular, the study focused on professional development as a continuous process of individual and collective examination and improvement of practice. “Continuous learning by today’s classroom teachers is necessary for the survival and improvement of the American educational system” (Linn, 2006, para 1). Teachers are challenged with finding the time to translate research-based strategies into classroom practices and to modify these practices for their diverse student populations (Dearman and Alber, 2005). The first study focused on study teams within the school. The second study focused on the schools professional learning and the daily work of teaching using the National Staff Development Council’s It’s Test Time Again survey. The third study used the school’s professional development plan, which shows the strengths and weaknesses. Study 1
The first study was based on research, which focused on study teams within the school. John Dewey stressed the importance of reflecting on practices and integrating observations into emerging theories of teaching and learning (Dantonio, 2001, p. 10). Bacon County Middle School shows professional development in improving the quality of teacher learning concerns by participating in study groups or study teams. Study teams within a school system can be very promising for knowledge and understanding of teacher development. Study teams prove to be an imperative part of growth professionally by keeping abreast of new teaching strategies. In research conducted by Fisher (2000) it was found that study groups provide a regular collaborative structure that enables teachers to assist one another in using the new strategy appropriately. Teacher study teams can be implemented to provide time for teachers to collaborate about what can be done to improve student achievement. Fisher (2000) found that study groups provide the accountability it takes to get going. Every staff member at Bacon County Middle School participates in a study group. Research indicates that teachers who work in isolation rarely change instructional practices, thereby widening the research-to practice gap (Dearman and Alber, 2005). Schools with regularly scheduled study team meetings should designate a portion of the time to look at student work...