By Alain Poirier, education consultant and CAR coach, and Amélie Roy, transfer and innovation advisor at the Centre de transfert pour la réussite éducative du Québec (CTREQ).
In school settings, the need to collaborate to innovate pedagogically and enable all students to learn is becoming evident. Learn about the CAR: Collaborate, Learn, Succeed project, a collaborative movement focused on the success of all students in Quebec.
Over the past few decades, our societies have undergone major transformations that have led them to deal with increasingly complex and changing realities: a more knowledge-based economy, increasing technological advances, greater social diversity, etc. The demands and high performance expectations resulting from these transformations are pushing organizations in all sectors to review their operations and move towards new work models. In this context, collaboration has emerged as a true strategic skill and a lever for innovation in companies and service institutions. The school is no exception.
In the education environment, the task of school practitioners is becoming increasingly complex. They must implement an inclusive pedagogy to help all learners succeed and develop their full potential. It is clear that this responsibility cannot be met within a siloed working model and that individual expertise, however great, is no longer sufficient (5). We are therefore seeing a growing number of school teams change the way they work and gradually develop collaborative approaches that rely on interdependence and the union of each individual's strengths for the benefit of students. Faced with the current pedagogical challenges in education, it is clear that collaboration is the only solution.
Born in the spring of 2015, the CAR: Collaborate, Learn, Succeed project is an initiative of the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon and the Association des directeurs généraux des commissions scolaires du Québec (ADIGECS). Carried out in collaboration with the Centre de transfert pour la réussite éducative du Québec (CTREQ), it is under the direction of the Fédération des centers de services scolaires du Québec (FCSSQ) since July 2021.
The CAR project aims to support the culture of collaboration in education, to strengthen the pedagogical leadership of actors in school organizations and to promote the adoption of organizational and pedagogical practices that contribute to the improvement of learning, success and graduation of youth. More concretely, the CAR project consists of supporting school administrators and staff members in developing collaborative approaches to promote the success of all students.
The CAR project is :
- More than sixty school service centers (CSS) in Quebec.
- Nine communities of practice (CoPs) composed of branches and deputy branches from different HSCs who are thinking together to develop collaborative approaches in their organizations.
- More than 150 Communities of Practice (CoPs) composed of school administrators, managers and supported professionals who are learning together to become a true Professional Learning Community (PLC).
- Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) comprised of teachers, professionals, and principals who work together to implement the practices that have the greatest impact on the learning and success of all students in their schools.
- A website providing access to multiple resources (popularized texts, reproducible tools, inspiring videos) and reference schools to support collaborative work.
To learn more, visit the CAR website.
The contribution of collaboration in schools
Many researchers argue that collaboration among school personnel promotes professional development and the implementation of collaborative and coherent interventions that have a greater impact on student learning and achievement (4,6).
In his analysis of successful school systems, Michael Fullan identifies collaborative leadership as one of the characteristics of effective schools (3). Furthermore, a meta-analysis by John Hattie (2) suggests that teachers' collective efficacy is one of the most influential factors on student achievement. In other words, teachers' belief in their ability to act collectively to promote student success is critical, which is why it is important to develop effective collaborative practices.
Although it is difficult to establish a direct relationship between collaboration and academic success, several studies show that a collaborative climate positively influences students' attitudes towards school and motivation, which in turn are factors in success (1).
- Beaumont, C., Lavoie, J., & Couture, C. (2011). Collaborative practices in schools: A framework to support training. Center de recherche et d'intervention sur la réussite scolaire (CRIRES), Université Laval. https://crires.ulaval.ca/sites/default/files/guide_sec_nouvelle_version.pdf
- Donohoo, J., Hattie, J., & Eells, R. (2018). The power of collective efficacy. Educational Leadership, 75, 40-44.
- Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Corwin.
- Hargreaves, A. (2019). Teacher collaboration: 30 years of research on its nature, forms, limitations, and effects. Teachers and Teaching, 25, 603-621.
- Rousseau, N. (2015). The pedagogy of inclusive education (3e ed.). Presses de l'Université du Québec.
- Vangrieken, K., Dochy, P., Raes, E., & Kyndt, E. (2015). Teacher collaboration: A systematic review. Educational Research Review, 15, 17-40.