Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Second Advisor

Dr. David Hoppey

Third Advisor

Dr. Anne Swanson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pamela Chally

Department Chair

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer



The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand teachers’ perceptions of the collaborative process and how it affected their classroom practices. The research question was “What are the perceptions held by experienced public elementary-school teachers in a large urban school district in the southeastern United States regarding the collaborative process in their school settings?”

The research design used semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a specific group of public elementary-school teachers who had extensive professional development and experience with the collaborative process, either in co-teaching settings or in frequent collaboration with colleagues. Using the process of educational criticism (Eisner, 1998) and Hatch’s (2002) typological analysis, interview data were analyzed. Eisner’s description and interpretation using educational criticism involved six typologies: (a) multiple views of collaboration, (b) the roles of principals in teacher collaboration, (c) elements necessary for successful collaboration, (d) benefits of collaboration, (e) challenges of collaboration, and (f) the role of collaboration in the development of teachers’ personal and professional identity.

The evaluation dimension of Eisner’s educational criticism focused on three categories based on data from the present study: how teacher collaboration promoted teacher leadership; how teacher collaboration developed teacher identity, and how teacher collaboration influenced student learning. Growth in teacher leadership, and development of teacher identity and student learning were characteristics associated with a strong educational and collaborative environment.

Analysis of the data in the present study led to the development of five themes: (a) Teacher collaboration is a complicated process that must be learned; (b) Teacher buy-in leads to successful collaboration with colleagues; (c) Teacher collaboration thrives in a collaborative culture and contributes to the development of such a culture; (d) Teachers need to have certain characteristics to collaborate successfully; and, (e) Collaboration can develop and strengthen teacher identity, improve teaching practices, and increase student learning.