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The social dimensions of teacher collegiality

Jarzabkowski, L. (2002) The social dimensions of teacher collegiality. Journal of Educational Enquiry, 3 . pp. 1-20.

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One aspect of teachers' work lives rarely given consideration within educational research is that of social interaction with colleagues. While research focuses strongly on linking the collegial practices of teachers with student learning outcomes, the social benefits of teacher collegiality for teachers themselves is often neglected. In this article, I provide empirical data on the social interaction of teachers in a primary school and reveal their perceptions of the importance of such interaction. I provide an argument for incorporating a social dimension into existing concepts of teacher collegiality and posit that social interaction among colleagues maybe beneficial in two ways. First, social interaction may promote better working relationships, which in the longer term may improve the quality of teaching and learning. Second, positive social interaction may improve the emotional health of the staff community, thus reducing emotional stress and burnout. What may appear on the surface to be an immaterial part of a teacher's workplace experience in terms of educational outcomes should be acknowledged as promoting significant individual and organisational benefits.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: University of South Australia
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