Perceptions of Collaboration: A Content Analysis of Student Journals

Winter 2008

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume 31, No. 1. Winter 2008. p. 12-20.
(Reviewed by The Portal Team)

As collaborative instruction for students with disabilities becomes a prominent practice, teacher educators must examine prospective educators' views on these practices.
This article addresses the teaching of collaboration and teamwork in a university personnel preparation program through the use of reflective journals.
Students in the current study used journals in their coursework on collaboration.
The following question guided the research for this study: What do journal entries reveal regarding students' perceptions of their collaborative interactions with colleagues?


Participants were students in a master's level special education course entitled Collaboration with Parents and Professionals. The researchers randomly chose 41 of the 65 student journals collected over the course of four quarters.
The students included traditional preservice teachers working on their master's degree and initial certification as well as current teachers with initial or provisional certification, working on their master's and additional certification.
All students had practicum experiences in school settings with students with disabilities.


Journaling Requiremnts  - Sudents were asked to write journal entries reflecting their observations of interactions and collaboration around children with disabilities. They were required to complete nine weekly entries over the course of a three month quarter.


Several themes emerged through content analysis including self-evaluation of skills and general communication skills of teams.
Results indicate issues in collaboration and areas of concern among preservice and certification students. Further, teacher educators may use the analysis process to provide a concentrated focus on areas of concern to students.
As many programs require prospective teachers to journal about their teaching experiences, the categories used in the analysis may provide a basis for examining those journal entries in greater depth.

Updated: Nov. 10, 2008