The Role of Administrators in the Collaboration of Math and Science Teachers

The Role of Administrators in the Collaboration of Math and Science Teachers

Author: 
Benjamin Stewart Johnson
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to fill the gap in research about the role of the administrator in supporting and sustaining effective math and science teacher collaboration. The goal of the study was to identify specific attitudes and behaviors that successful administrators in south central Texas display that promote successful implementation of math and science teacher collaboration. Nine general categories emerged from focus group conversations with math and science teachers and their administrators: 1. the need for effective communication, 2. time during the school day to collaborate, 3. useful professional development, 4. data analysis and disaggregation, 5. developing and maintaining trust, 6. provision of adequate resources, 7. accountability, 8. administrator involvement in the collaboration process, and 9. taking time to listen to teacher concerns. Four recommendations came from the study conclusions concerning the pivotal role of the administrator in successfully implementing math and science collaboration. The study indicated that the administrator should engage in frequent face-to-face communication with teachers to provide feedback and encouragement. Additionally, the study revealed that in order for it to be successful, the administrator should provide sufficient time for that collaboration during the school day. Along with support of effective professional development that is targeted to student and teacher needs, the administrator should also develop and support job-embedded professional learning. A final recommendation of the study was that the administrator should become thoroughly involved in the day-to-day implementation of math and science teacher collaboration.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is a result of a dream that inspired hope in a time of distress. I dedicate this work to my dear wife and eternal companion for her faith in me as well as her patience with me while I neglected many of my family duties in order to accomplish this endeavor. She has stood by me in the late nights and early mornings required to complete the doctorate and I am deeply indebted to her for her persistent encouragement and steadfast support.
Acknowledgements: 
I want to acknowledge and thank several people who were instrumental in the journey towards my doctorate. First of all, Dr. Stephen Mercer, I am indebted to you for your patience and your persistence in mentoring me through the doctoral maze. I am also grateful for the support of my committee members, Dr. Verta Midcalf and Dr. Shelly Kresyman. Additionally, I cannot thank my family enough for their support and for their encouragement for me, the too often absentee dad. I also thank my own parents, Robert and Barbara Johnson, who from my youth encouraged me to high heights. Many thanks go towards Rick and Rebecca DuFour for your inspiration as educational leaders as well as their kindness and encouragement. I have been enriched by your acquaintance and your examples of dedication to the teaching profession. Your work with professional learning communities has motivated me for years and I am grateful to be able to add to the body of knowledge you have championed regarding teacher collaboration. Thanks to my longtime friend Dr. Randy Ewing who took the plunge first and obtained his doctorate and encouraged me to do the same. Finally, if it were not for the long time association and friendship of Dr. Sandra West, this doctoral research would never have happened. You have been a true God-send in more ways than you know and I appreciate the time, effort, and resources that you have mobilized in my behalf.