Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 15, No. 1, February 2009, 131–154.
During recent years, educational restructuring efforts have commonly regarded schools as both learning communities and sites for teachers’ professional development. A plethora of attributes influence prerequisites as well as outcomes of the efforts, while teachers’ local cultures constitute a cornerstone. More specifically, enhanced school-based teacher collaboration is associated with upgraded school effectiveness and enhanced professional growth. However, the comparative study of school-based teacher collaboration occur rarely in an international perspective. The goal of the study is to highlight teacher collaboration in Sweden and Greece utilizing nationwide surveys with physical education teachers in both countries. The sample consisted of 707 Swedish and 451 Greek professionals. The high response rate combined with restricted internal dropout forms the basis of the generalization of the findings. The presentation of the results is connected with issues of formal cooperation, deprivatized practices and personalized interaction in four teachers groups: primary and lower secondary schools in Sweden and in Greece. According to the data, formal cooperation and deprivatized practices occur more frequently in Sweden than in Greece. However, personalized interaction is rather high in Greek lower secondary schools. Despite differences between the four contexts, a second order model represents obtained information adequately with very good fit indexes. It seems that school-based teacher collaboration in authentic settings can be connected to complex processes with multifaceted characteristics in different national contexts as well as in educational stages within one country as well. Manipulating distinct aspects of schooling may consequently jeopardize expected outcomes, as development ambitions should be targeting several interdependent dimensions. Swedish schools generally and lower secondary schools specifically constitute original examples of enhanced school-based teacher collaboration, while an intensification of combined endeavors is needed in Greece. The comparative mapping of interconnected collaboration characteristics might contribute to more holistic restructuring struggles towards schools as learning communities and sites for teachers’ professional development.