A case study of a peer collaboration program

David Robert Blot, Fordham University


This case study investigated a peer collaboration program initiated by three urban community college ESL instructors interested in the improvement of their teaching. They agreed to visit each other's classes, write nonjudgmental descriptions of classroom activity, and conference. The investigator, as one of the three collaborators, used participant-observation as the main research strategy. Data were collected principally through audiotaping of conferences and interviews. Analysis done according to principles of grounded theory revealed that the three participants spent considerable time during conferences discussing relational issues such as trust, perceptions of each other, support, and isolation. The findings of this study indicate that the participants in their collaboration were unintentionally developing a model of peer collaboration. Elements in the collaborative process such as trust, reflectivity, reciprocity, support and mutual benefit, and peer control are important to consider in the development and implementation of a peer collaboration program. This study contributes to the theory of a developmental (as opposed to a deficit) model of peer collaboration in particular and faculty development in general. It is hypothesized that the five elements are interdependent and are all essential to the success of peer collaboration. Programs which incorporate these elements maximize the possibility for extensive transformation of teachers and teaching, and contribute to deepening the powers of reflection and decision making. Finally, the study recommends that universities implement peer collaboration programs as an organized and institutionally recognized form of faculty development. Such programs would help to redress the imbalance between teaching and research priorities on campuses while encouraging more effective teaching practices.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching|Community colleges|Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Blot, David Robert, "A case study of a peer collaboration program" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123129.