Collaborative School Culture In Al Ain Secondary Schools Education Essay

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A school is a living structure where every member affect or being affected positively or negatively depending on the whole community input. In a school community every member needs to strive for success and nurture a good work atmosphere where everyone cares and supports each other. Being an active part in a school urges every individual regardless his position to build a positive work culture. This culture should be built on collaboration and cooperation mode .School culture is based on the norms, values, and beliefs that are embraced by school members (Stolp & Smith, 1994). When a school adopts a traditional culture, people lean toward isolation and refrain from working together collaboratively (Liethwood & Jantze, 1990). Putting efforts together enrich and empower individual's practices. In fact, it accelerates the success pace and eliminates the defaults. The collaborative culture has been evidenced to have positive effects on the organization development and the satisfaction of employees (Fullan,1990 & Joyce,1990). The school collaborative culture has been demonstrated by research studies as a major component of leading schools toward achieving their goals. It leads to achieving various school development initiatives for teachers and students (Lthwood & Jantze, 1990).

Several studies have investigated the school culture and being classified in relation to; collaborative school culture with students' achievement, while others relate it with teachers' satisfaction (Darling-Hammond, 1997; Fullan, 1998; Barth, 1990; Deal & Peterson, 1999). In a research conducted by both Newmann & Wehlage (1995) by center on organization and restricting of schools, they concluded that students' achievement increase in a professional collaborative school culture which promotes a professional learning community among staff. Valentine, Clark, Hackmann, & Petzko(2004) found out that teachers in a collaborative culture were highly committed to collaborate and satisfy school roles.

The UAE education system which is similar to its counterparts in the globe has encountered challenges in the educational process. Therefore, it has to look for successfully practices relating to leadership strategies to achieve its goals. And since the administration, particularly speaking the principal, is the key factor in leading any school, school culture depends on the leadership behaviors that coincide with the leadership approach they believe in and apply in their schools (Stolp,1994). Current school leadership has experienced changes until it reached today's perspective. The leadership behaviors or more generally the patterns of leadership have been conceptualized in different ways. They developed from traditional leadership approaches to collaborative leadership approaches. Traditional leadership forms an organization based on hierarchy that evokes obedience of the principals' orders. The principal is highly directive and enforces his/her own personal views (Luke, 1998). This leadership pattern is still dominant in many schools.

Since the UAE education system is an outcome of the local and international research and human experiences, it follows the most common leadership or administrative styles in leading the education field in the country. The most basic leadership styles for school principals particularly around decision-making as the most famous studies of leadership style were conducted were: autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire (Vroom, 2003). In an autocratic style, the principal is the one who have the power and authority. In a democratic leadership style, principals engage the staff and employees to be effective participants in decision making (Adeyemi, 2010). In laissez-faire leadership authority or power is given to staff and the principal did provide little or no direction (Talbert and Milbrey, 1994).

Since the UAE school leadership like any other part of the world, it has tried different administrative approached until it reached what is, "shared leadership approaches" which is developed over time to support the appropriate need to build collaborative school cultures. This trend is supported by Dufour, Dufour & Eaker, (2008) who believe that most contemporary shared leadership behaviors support collaborative leadership such as dispersed leadership, distributive leadership and transformational leadership. Looking closer at these type of leaderships we learn that; dispersed leadership is a style of leadership that does not concentrate the power of decision making in the hands of the principal but disperse leadership and responsibilities to teachers and staff (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano, Dennison, 2003).Transformational leadership is a leadership style where the principal empowers all school staff to make decisions with the aim to increase the staff commitment to the organization purpose (Dufour, Dufour & Eaker, 2008). It also enhances the creation of a collaborative culture to change the school toward a certain vision. The distributed leadership style is based on the idea that leadership practices are a result of communication of all school staff (Spillane, 2005). These three leadership styles reflect and promote a common message represented by collaboration which is the heart of leadership. According to the three leadership styles the school staff are leaders who work together to lead the school. To achieve this, school principals should collaborate regularly with teachers and staff, share ideas and values. This is best achieved by developing positive relationships that make the interaction among staff effective (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison).

In Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), teachers, administrations and all education stakeholders are urged to collaborate. The whole ADEC's new norm is based on putting efforts together to minimize cost and efforts. However, according to Lortie (1975) teachers' collaboration was limited in schools because of the schools culture that make them isolated. Peterson & Deal (2002) also considers the culture that supports continuous inquiry and shared practices as positive culture for learning. Fullan (1993) argues that collaborative school cultures support teachers to work together and help them to learn from each other. In order to have a collaborative culture, schools should be guided by clear visions and missions. "A shared vision and shared goals reflect a unity of purpose among the teaching staff of a school that is likely to result in a consistency of practice toward collaborative school culture" (Maslowski, 2001, p. 5). Collaborative school culture supports sustained professional development and provides needed time for teachers to develop instructional methods, curricular activities, and reflection (Cooper & Boyd, 1994). Collaborative school culture supports and emphasizes trust relationship between teachers and parents (Guruenert, 2005).

Talking about collaborative working atmosphere there should be limitations which characterize it. Guruenert (2005) utilized six factors to describe features of collaborative cultures. These factors were collaborative leadership, teacher collaborative, professional development, unity of purpose, collegial support, and learning partnership. Guruenert (2005) described collaborative leadership as a school leader who communicates with teachers and facilitates the collaboration culture among teachers. Also, he described teacher collaboration as an expressive collaborative culture. In addition, he stated that professional development is the attitude of teachers to gain new ideas toward the improvement of the school. He described Unity of purpose as how teaching is influenced by school mission statement. Finally, he described learning partnership as the value of teacher-parent communication. The researcher used the same six factors in this study to investigate the collaborative culture in the school.

The educational reform in ADEC schools is changing from the traditional school management into supporting collaborative cultures and teamwork. This is one of the core values of ADEC (Abu-Dhabi Education Council, n.d.). In the New School Model (NSM), school leaders should support the idea that "they are responsible for building a culture in which all teachers possess and reinforce positive and respectful relationships in the school, through encouraging teachers' collaboration" (ADEC , n.d.). ADEC carried out training programs to prepare the principals for the new leadership style in the NSM. Even before the NSM, ADEC implemented another initiative in 2006 Public-Private Partnership program (PPP). The principals in the PPP schools had to share ideas and work with the company supervising the school. Principals were helped in taking shared decisions with the new management and with various teachers in the school. This was one step to improve the quality of leadership toward shared leadership (ADEC, n.d.).

Furthermore, ADEC hosts a leadership training program for school principals and vice principals in order to better equip them with new administrative practices and prepare them for the education reform it undertakes. The training was on nine key modules to support leadership development such as understanding their leadership style, promoting teamwork and developing high quality teachers (AME (a), 2011). In addition, principals and vice principals have been trained in strategic leadership, methods of leading people, organizations and communities, and more specifically on leading teaching and learning under ADEC's new educational model (AME (b), 2010).

Furthermore, ADEC provided a scholarship program called NIBRAS for a master degree in school leadership. The aim of the program is to prepare future school leaders who will be able to build collaborative school cultures among students, staff, parents and the community (ADEC(c), n.d.).

Problem statement

It is clear from the Strategic Plan of Abu Dhabi Education Council (2009) and ADEC's New School Model document (NSM), (2009-2018) that school leaderships and cementing a collaborative school cultures is a real focus. All efforts have been excreted to upgrade schools administrations to meet international standards. As being mentioned earlier, principals (P), vice principals (VP) and heads of faculties (HOFs) are being enrolled in training sessions to meet ADEC's expectations and advance their practices.

The problem this study tries to address is that the lack of concentration on a very crucial element in the education field that could lead to a big failure in the whole education reform which is the school culture.

ADEC's research study in the UAE strongly support the fact that the leadership of the school specifically principals have a direct impact on the teaching and learning process (Abu Dhabi Public School Principals, 2009, p. 20). Although ADEC has carried out optimistic initiatives to enforce a culture of collaboration in Abu Dhabi schools, traditional leadership attitudes and actions of school principals are still considered a barrier to building collaborative school cultures. Many principals lack the necessary leadership skills that support collaborative culture and help to enhance teachers' satisfaction.

In response to this need, ADEC lunched an online survey for principals in June 2009 and 135 principals from Al- Ain Educational Office, Abu Dhabi Educational Office, and Al Gharbia Educational Office completed the survey. The principals responded that "a few" teachers in their school were willing to spend extra time to make school better, and many teachers and staff are not willing to have a leadership role. In addition, the principals felt that teachers in their schools do not set high standards for themselves. This gives us an indication that teachers did not want to collaborate. The fact remains that it would require skillful leadership to ensure that teachers can build a collaborative culture that encourages them to work effectively.

The purpose and question of the study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of collaborative components of school principals' leadership in Al-Ain Cycle Three schools.

This research also aimed to help all stakeholders in ADEC to be familiar with Cycle Three school culture and the extent. It meant to helped decision-makers plan for future training and leadership priorities in Cycle Three. It also intended to give idea about the level of collaborative school culture in relation to the gender of teachers.

The questions of this study are:

To what extent does collaborative school culture exist in Al-Ain secondary schools?

How does collaborative school culture differ according to the gender of teachers?

Significance of the study:

The increase global focuses on the role of school administrations and how important is to arm them with the best research findings lead many countries to study it thoroughly. Administrator are urged to facilitate their staff work and dictate their work for necessities like caring culture and helping them work in a relaxing and more tense free atmosphere. Hence, the importance of this study as it will contribute to scholarly research on educational leadership and collaborative school culture. In addition, it will be useful for school principals to understand their role in leading schools toward more positive culture- collaborative school culture. The findings are important for policy makers and ADEC's officials in their pursuits toward implementing the NSM successfully and creating a collaborative culture in schools.

Scoop "Scope" of the study:

Limitations

It is worth mentioning that this study is preliminary and exploratory in nature. All data will be gathered based entirely on the honesty of answers from the participants and how they will perceive Cycle Three school collaborative culture. The results also provide only a "snapshot" of the time when data was collected. The study was carried out only in Al-Ain Cycle Three public schools. These limitations make generalizations of the findings inapplicable to other locations in the UAE or on other component of the collaborative school culture.

Definition of term:

Collaborative leadership is a "leadership model that serves as the foundation for the coalition. It has fostered an ethic of empowerment in the organization that promotes mutual respect, trust, and innovative thinking"(Kezar, Carducci, Contreras- McGavin, 2006, p.81). This was assessed through whether principals value teachers' ideas and involve them in decision making. Collaborative school culture means "members of the school community who work together effectively and are guided by a common purpose. The Turning Point Leadership Development National Excellence Collaborative defined it as all members of the community including teachers, administrators, students and their families share a common vision of what the school should be like "(Turning Point, 2001, p.3). Collaborative school culture in this study will be examined through a survey for the six factors/components of collaborative school culture by Gruenert (2005).

Organization of study:

Chapter one of the study introduced the problem statement, purpose and significance of the study. Chapter two presented a review of related literature and relevant research associated with the problem which was addressed in this study. It was divided into four main sections: the definition of collaborative school culture, the importance of collaborative culture, six factors to assess collaborative school culture, and collaborative school culture and gender. Chapter three presented the methodology and procedures were used for data collection and data analysis. Chapter four presented the findings and provided an analysis and discussion. And chapter five offered summary, implications for practice, and recommendations for future research.

CHAPTER II

Literature Review

The purpose of this study was to investigate the collaborative components of school principals' leadership in Al Ain Cycle Three public schools and to explore whether the collaborative culture could lead to better teachers' satisfaction. In this chapter, the researcher reviewed the definition of collaborative school cultures, the importance of collaborative school culture, as well as the factors of collaborative school culture. In addition, reviewed the definition of teacher's job satisfaction, the effect of teacher's job satisfaction, and the ways in which teacher satisfaction could be achieved. Finally, the researcher reviewed studies carried tackling the relationship between collaborative school culture and teachers' satisfaction.

Definition of Collaborative School Culture

School culture is the tangible product of the combination of shared values, beliefs, priorities, expectations and norms (West-Burnham, 1992). The school culture is the main effect of attitude, behavior and communication among teachers, administration, staff and parents (DeRoche,1987). In other words, organizational culture represents the "assumptions, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, rituals, traditions, expectations, knowledge, language, norms and all the other values shared by the members of the organization" (Fullan & Hargreaves, 1991, p.49). The school culture should be considered as very important component. This is because the analysis of school culture is the initial steps for any school reform (Purkey& smith,1985).

An important issue that regulates organizational culture at schools is "norms" that have huge effects on constructing school culture. The "norms" at school is "unwritten rules for how and what we do to act"( Richardson, 1999, p.1).The frame of cultural norms of refining schools are recognized in shared goals, responsibility for success, collegiality, continuous improvement and lifelong learning. Also it includes risk taking, support, mutual respect, openness and celebration (Stoll, 1998).

A positive and caring school culture called collaborative school culture (Survay). Collaborative school culture is one of the forms of school culture that has been considered by many researchers as essential to the success within the organization (Carter, 1999; Goldsmith-Conley, 1998; Gruenert, 2000). Sergiovanni (2004) described collaborative school cultures as a school culture that makes every staff gets a role in the school, reciprocal relationships that support mutual obligations, a balance between individual autonomy and collaborative and more deliberate work. It needs leaders who work with the staff, encourage people committed to work together to achieve goals and purposes they share for improving the school. Furthermore, collaborative school culture is a structure that "empowers teachers and administrators to work together to make the most important decisions regarding the educational experiences of their students" (Turning Point, 2001, p. v), with two primary components: shared leadership and decision making, and the creation of effective teacher teams. Peter and Waterman (1982) defined collaborative school culture as an environment that helps to fulfill three basic human needs: elements of control, meaning in situation, and support. Collaborative school culture is a culture that enhances high morale, commitment to teaching, and continuous professional development (Weiss, 1999). In addition, collaborative school culture builds a school climate that supports social and emotional, professional development and learning, and closer ties with significant stakeholders, such as families and community organizations and reduces teacher isolation (Dickerson & Helm-Stevens, 2011).

Even though, the element of collaboration of teacher is possibly a more significant indicator of collaborative school culture, it is not the measure the sole indicator of collaborative culture. Many activities of teachers, administrators and parents could be indicators for 'collaborative'. The fundamental idea here is that different collaborative tasks include different extent of collaboration (Wen-Chu Hu,).

Importance of Collaborative School Culture

Gruenert (2005) investigated the correlation of collaborative school culture to student's achievement in Indiana in 81 elementary, middle, and high schools and found that collaborative school was the best setting to improve student's achievement. In addition, collaborative school culture helps students reach better achievement and levels of skills and understanding than do traditionally organized schools (Darling-Hammond, 1997). Many researchers emphasis on the importance of collaborative culture and support that it help to develop relation among teachers especially collegial support and trust, instructional improvement , improve student learning and teachers satisfaction (Fisher & Frey,2003; Friend & Cook, 2007; McLeskey, Waldron, So, Swanson, & Loveland,2001). Hargreaves (1999) mentioned that collaborative school culture helps to make teachers build quality of openness, trust and collegial support. Fullan (1998, p. 8) stated that "students' achievement increase substantially in schools with collaborative work cultures that foster a professional learning community among teachers and others, focus continuously on improving instructional practice in light of student performance data, and link to standards and staff development support". Valentine, Clark, Hackmann, & Petzko (2004) reported from a national study of highly successful middle level schools that collaborative school culture was successful as teachers were committed and fulfilled school roles.

Teachers in collaborative school culture were more effective and continually seek information from colleagues or researches to help them to develop (Turning point, 2011). Glickman (1993) , in his book (Renewing American Schools), supported the idea that collaborative school culture helped to achieve effective teaching and learning in schools as teachers were usually working together in planning and developing their teaching practices. The effects of collaborative school culture were higher honesty, enhanced commitment to teaching and ongoing professional growth (Weiss, 1999). The collaboration and reflection that are encourage in collaborative culture help to have noticeable implication on teachers' job satisfaction (Rosenholtz, 1989).

Furthermore, in collaborative cultures teachers take responsibility with the aim of helping all students learn and apply leadership among them (Kohm & Nance, 2009). Also, they mentioned that this type of culture increases the capacity of staff to improve instruction as they had the opportunities to improve instruction and evaluated ideas based on shared goals that focused on student learning. Teachers in collaborative school cultures were enthusiastic hard workers and the children were excited (Hargreaves, 1994). Peterson (1994) mentioned that in collaborative school culture there are some features support relationships and behaviors among teachers that for sure would help to improve the quality of work and effective instruction, these features includes sharing knowledge in complex problem solving, professional communication among teachers to share information, improve technical skills and Increased teacher job satisfaction. Latham (1998) highlighted the importance of rule of school norms as they affect teachers' satisfaction. He concluded that teachers who work in collaborative culture have greater job satisfaction than other teachers. School culture influences teachers' job satisfaction and their attitude to keep on teaching (Pugach, Blanton, Correa, McLeskey & Langley, 2009). According to Weiss (1999), collaborative school culture supports teachers' satisfaction. In a collaborative school culture, where teachers participate in decision making teachers' job satisfaction was found to be high. Collaborative culture and the collaborative leadership play an important role to raise teachers' satisfaction as they provide professional stimulation (Telford, 1996).

Six Factors to Assess Collaborative School Culture

The features of collaborative school culture can be assessed by using six factors to highlight the type of culture that exists in the school (Guement, 2005). Each factor in the collaborative School Culture Survey measures a unique feature of a collaborative school culture. These factors are the following:

Collaborative Leadership

The main conditions to build positive culture in schools were leadership behaviors. Principals have essential roles in the creation of positive school culture. Bulach, Boothe & Pickett ( 2006) developed a survey to analyze the principals' leadership behavior and they concluded that there was a strong relation between how the principal interacts with staff and the culture of the school and that is what they consider as an early indicator that helps to know what happen in the school culture. Many researches support that leadership behaviors affect learning through the set of structure and socio cultural process (Robinson, Lloyd & Rowe, 2008; Southworth, 2002). Cotton (2002) described some principal behaviors that have an effect on students' achievement. He categorized the behaviors into five categories; one of them was school culture. Furthermore, (Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005) conducted another comprehensive combination of the leadership and student achievement as they described the relation among school culture, leadership, and student achievement. They concluded that leadership behaviors develop a shared vision and understanding of purpose among school staff directly correlated to culture of school that related to student achievement. It is obvious from the previous two studies that there is a tangible interrelation among leadership, school culture and student achievement.

Slater (2004) stated that in collaborative school culture, the leadership of the principal should be a collaborative leadership that needs skills, knowledge and behavior to help the principal in facilitating groups, reaching consensus, resolving conflict, and teams building. She further proposed that principals required to be collaborative leadership "need to adopt new 'mind-sets' or 'ways of being' that include coping with ambiguity, empowering others, and maintaining change momentum within an enhanced accountability context" (Slater, 2004, p. 14). Collaborative culture did not mean only a leadership for the principal, but it also includes all school staff in leadership (Lambert, 2003).

Hallinger and Heck (2010) found out through a series of empirical analysis that collaborative leadership on school enhanced school improvement and developed students' learning.

Empirical studies indicate that effective teaching and learning is fostered by successful school collaborative leadership. In such contexts, professional learning and change is enabled (Fullan, 2001). The principal in a collaborative school culture has to use distributed leadership to share responsibilities and decision making with all school staff (Waldron & McLeskey, 2010). This means that all staff would lead the process of change in the school. They need to go through new activities for example joint problem solving, sharing and analyzing data (McLeskey & Waldron, 2000). In addition, in collaboration-based cultures, leadership is dispersed broadly, performed regularly, and crucial to improvement and change. Every teacher can be a leader in collaborative schools (Fullan & Hargreaves, 1991).

School leaders who model commitment and action signify collaborative leadership. It supports them with broad based involvement and provides hope and participation which enables them to be peer problem solvers and distribute the authority, power and responsibility to all teachers (Turning point, 2001). There are some key practices of collaborative leadership: assessing the school context for collaboration, creating clarity of purpose and shared values among staff building trust and creating safety, sharing power, developing people through mentoring, coaching and reflection on attitudes and behaviors (Cordeiro & Cunningham, 2003).

Collaborative leadership pressures the importance of the`principal, as the instructional leader, working with the teachers to develop student success (Schlechty, 2002). Collaborative leadership is vital in structure distributive leadership in schools (Spillane, Halverson & Diamond 2003; Spillane & Sheerer, 2004). The principal giving up power is a crucial component in nurturing collaborative leadership.

In Collaborative culture trusting, respectful atmosphere within the school is important for the culture to become firmly rooted. Day's (2005) research study found that a trusting atmosphere is optimum for collaborative leadership. School principal should be the model for the cooperative behaviors that suppose from teachers. Simply, we can have effective model of collaboration behavior when principal collaborate with teachers. Collaborative leaders should strive until reach to make school a place where evrwy one leade ie. principals, teachers, students, and parents (Blankstein, 2004)

Teacher Collaboration

Teaching is traditionally is an isolated practice. For example, in a classroom, the teacher is the one who takings charge of the classroom activities. This labels a phenomenon of isolation. Also, teachers prefer autonomy more than the opportunity to influence others' work (Hargreaves,2005; Levine& Marcus,2008). Hargreaves (2005) found that teachers who tend to be isolated are resistant toard change and development. A growing body of research advises that teachers in more collaborative activities affect teaching practice and improves students learning (Ertesv,2011). Teacher collaboration is recognized to create a influential learning  culture for teachers' professional development (Meirink, Meijer, & Verloop, 2007)

Collaborative culture supports the emergence of teacher collaboration (Gruenert, 2011). To develop collaborative school culture, the principal must change the typically solitary instructional practice of teachers (Hord & Sommer, 2008). Collaboration happens when the school climate nurtures trust, time commitment for all teachers and the principal. Moreover, in collaborative cultures, a structure should exist to encourage teachers to work together (DuFour, 2004). Little (1986) asserted that the school norm of teachers' interaction, the teachers' critical practices, joint planning, and teachers observation were very important in successful collaborative school. Teacher collaboration is important because it increases creative thinking and efficiency (Kohm & Nance, 2009). National Association of Secondary School Principals (2006) mentioned that leaders should give the staff opportunities to generate ideas, to improve the school and offer sufficient time for teachers to plan, think about curriculum and assessment and interaction among colleagues. In collaborative school culture, teachers should be encouraged to work collaboratively with administration, work in curriculum, instruction, and assessment (Fullan, 1993). Dearman & Alber ( 2005) said that teachers who work together can set clear goals for teaching and learning, monitor student progress over time, and develop action plans to increase student achievement and establish a learning community. School principal should provide sufficient time to facilitate teacher collaboration in lesson plan and other instructional activities achievement (DuFour, 2004).

Professional Development

Policymakers are urged to improve the quality of teachers and focused on professional development as one way for school reform (Elmore, 1995). Any school reform needs to involve teachers in collaborative process (Lieberman, 1992). Robbins & Alvy (2003) suggested that it is important for teacher development to allow them to work in collaboration to look at their instruction and use research findings to improve their instruction. Professional development is necessary for three main reasons in schools: to improve the practices of teachers and principals, to increase student learning and to help the overall reform of the school ( Lunenburg & Irby, 2006). "A component of Collaborative School Culture (CSR) which is integral to the development and maintenance of a collaborative culture as well as the continuous improvement of a school is high quality professional development" (Waldron & McLeskey, 2010 p. 62). Professional development is aim to enthuizism the teachers to seek information and imbedded in their daily work practices (Gruenert, 1998). Professional development seems to be effective within collaborative school cultures since it changes the instructional practices of teachers and improves student achievement (Richardson & Placier, 2001; Joyce & Showers, 2002; Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman & Yoon, 2001; Guskey, 2003; McLeskey & Waldron, 2002). The fact that many teachers adapt their performance within professional development that promotes collaborative planning, curriculum development and instruction in achieving shared organizational goals is a clear example of the effects of professional development in collaborative school cultures (Joyce & Showers, 2002). Professional development in collaborative culture designed within cooperate principles of adult learning as a structure by letting teacher to actively take part in all aspects of professional development which mean they are being self- directed such as specifying the topics that they need when planning professional development (Waldron & McLeskey, 2010). Professionals in collaborative culture were found to be consistent, highlighted teaching practices and content knowledge that enhanced student outcomes and built upon the performance and beliefs of teachers (Guskey, 2003).

Georgia Department of Education (2006a) emphasized that in order to have effective professional development chances for teachers and staff in the school, school culture must support and reinforce continual professional growth and various professional development activities that guided by the need of the staff. In collaborative culture teacher and administrators are willing to share inquiry , decision making, and other experience's which guarantee the improvement of student achievement and school goals and objective (Gordon, 2004). Also, he mention that professional raises collegiality, dialogue, and evaluation of others educational experiences.

The school principals must support professional development initiative in the school by offering the resources for professional development. The time is considered as critical resource in fostering a high level of effective professional development. A suitable time for teachers to attend the activities and enough time to implement the knowledge gained from professional development activities (Campbell & Fullan, 2006).

Unity of Purpose

The purpose of the organization should be highlighted in the mission, vision, values and goals (Fullan, Hargreaves& Barth, 2009). Professional learning community emphasized that the purpose of schools should be both shared and agreed by all school staff. Gruenert (1998) explained the unity of purpose as the extent to which teachers work to achieve shared mission for the school by being aware all the time to understand, maintain, and accomplish in harmony with that mission. It is necessary for school leaders to be clear about the school mission to get successful environment (Peterson, 1994). One essential role of the school leader essential is to guide the staff to a common purpose and a vision (Leithwood et al. 2006). Collaborative school culture needs a leader who provides direction and unity of purpose (Hoppey, 2006). Unity of purpose involves a collaboration among school staff, students, parents and even more the local community to work together to achieve common school purpose (Schein, 2001). It has been shown that unity of purpose is one of the factors that associated with teachers' manners toward the professional development plan (Sullivan, 2010). A unity of purpose is more likely to be obvious in the school where teachers are more likely to result in a consistency of practice (Sammons, Hillman & Mortimore, 1995).

Effective schools have written school vision and mission that are help to achieve the district's vision and mission. The school's vision reflects an image of the future ways the school hopes to achieve. Bolman & Deal (2003) state that the mission and purpose of the school provided staff with direction to achieve the school goals on a daily basis. Therefore, all staff in the school should participated and understand the school's vision so they all will be commitment to work to achieve the vision for the school (Schlechty, 2003). Gruenert (1998) mentioned that the existence of a clear school vision is one of the most important factor to the success of the school. In collaborative school cultures, teachers share a commitment to the vision for student success (Campbell & Fullan).

Collegial Support

Collegial support describes collegiality among teachers (Gruenert, 2005). This means the extent to which teachers work together effectively. Also, collegial support represents the idea of willingness of teachers to help each other when there a problem rise measures. Collegial support is successful experience in a school culture where atmosphere of working together, trust and assist each other is highly sported (Gruenert, 1998). When teachers trust each other, value each other's ideas, and help each other as they work to accomplish the tasks of the school organization and work collaboratively. Teachers who work collegially tend to see their school leader as a team player, who engages others to participate (Peterson ,1994). Valentine (2004) stated that, in collaborative school cultures, leaders' foster collegiality and collaborative work that focus on curriculum, instruction and assessment. In addition, he claims that the trust among teachers in collaborative cultures increases as collaboration among teachers increase. Further, collegial support was obvious in collaborative cultures because the teachers' ideas were valued and exchange of ideas among colleagues is evident (Deal & Peterson, 1990). In this school culture, the teachers work collaboratively with each other and with the administration (Fullan, 1993).

Learning Partnership

The learning partnership measures the degree to which teachers, parents, and students work together for the common good of student learning. Parents and teachers share common expectations and communicate frequently about student performance. Parents trust teachers and accept the responsibility for students' learning (Gruenert, 1998). It is essential the communicate amobg teachers and parents because parents is Most parents know their children much better than teachers (Schlechty, 2003). Henderson & Berla () stated that the communication among teacher and parents is important. This because parents play a major role to create encouraging home environment support their children's' learning.

Collaborative school culture builds on the idea of collaboration in various levels from school principals till parents. This collaborating support achieving the goals of school (Georgia Department of Education, 2006a). Collaborative school culture foster working of teachers with families (Blankstein).

Partnership in learning did not mean merely sponsorship but it goes further as cooperation/collaboration to with responsibility of student learning (Sergiovanni, 1994). The participation of community and parents in school is necessary (Leithwood et al., 2006). Lickona (2004) mentioned an important feature of positive school which is mutual respect, honesty, fair judgment for all stockholders especially parents.

Students would get higher achievement if there was a common goal shared by teachers, parents, and students. The partnership is stronger when there is a common expectation between teachers and parents about students' achievement and when they hold regular communication between parents and teachers (GREGORY, 2008). Partnership of the school and parents is essential for school improvement (Raywid, 2001). School principals in collaborative culture foster open and honest communication with parents (McEwan, 2003).

Collaborative school culture and Gender

There is widely increase research in the field of educational concerning the effect teachers' gender on the school culture. Studies have discovered and found differences in attitudes dependent on teachers and leader gender which affect school culture.

A study investigating how gender affects willingness to develop cultural competence found that female teachers showed a higher willingness to engage in training in multiculturalism and indicated more need for multiculturalism within their school climate, than male teachers (Murtha, Bowens-MacCarthy, Morote & Tatum, 2006).

Also, research results showed important variances among the different types of cultural competencies once associated with teacher characteristics especially their gender (PDF20). Furthermore, gender have shown different expectation of their school leader and supervisory. Their expectation affected by the gender of school principal, which in turn influence school culture (Weppler,1996).He also stated that female teachers have more empowerment as a result of a female leadership characterized by co-operation, collaboration, compassion and empathy, than emphasize on disempowering educational hierarchy. That assists female teachers to develop leadership skills more than male teachers who's their leader focused on leading by power and management hairarckey.

Murtha, Bowens-MacCarthy, Morote & Tatum (2006) conducted a study to investigate the influence of different gender willingness to develops a positive culture found that female teachers presented a higher willingness and perception of positive culture than male teachers.

Leighton () conduct a study to explore the relation among teacher characteristics and cultural competencies of teachers. In this study teachers were divided into groups

based on the specific characteristics one of them is gender. The findings showed important differences among the different cultural perceptions when compared with teacher characteristics and the main effects of different perception was teachers gender. The finding indicate that gender is a key variable effecting 11 factors that

structure the measure of culture such as group cooperation and sense of mission. A research conducted to investigate the impact factors such as gender impact teachers perceive of the culture. The researchers emphasize on the importance of this kind of study of relating school culture with other factors as it could offer an insight to help school principal to shaping a positive school culture.

On the other hand, Franklin (1989), stated that the school culture did not affected by gender but the teacher gender only related to teacher competence.

Chapter 3

Methodology

The review of literature has shown that several factors are behind creating collaborative school culture. This study attempts to investigate these questions: a) To what extent does collaborative school culture exist in Al-Ain secondary schools? b) How does collaborative school culture differ according to the gender of teachers? These questioned are answered by using a questionnaire that was developed as an instrument for collecting data the extent of collaborative school culture in secondary school in Al Ain. In this chapter, the process for conducting this study will be addressed. This includes the methodology, target population sampling the instrument validity and reliability, procedure, limitation and delimitation.

3.1. Method

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the extent of collaborative components of school culture in Al-Ain secondary schools. This was a descriptive study study designed to determine the extent of collaborative culture in secondary school in Al Ain. In this type of research design, a descriptive research method was used in this study.

The study attempted to find the extent of collaborative school culture in secondary school in Al Ain from teachers perception.

Data were collected in the form of survey from secondary school teachers in Al-Ain to measure collaborative school culture. A descriptive statistics approach was used in this study to explore the existent collaborative culture on AL Ain school. A descriptive research method is frequently used to measure thoughts, opinions and feelings. It used to analyze behavior and evaluating professional organizations (Shaughnessy & Jeanne, 2011).

3.2. Target population

Target population of this study was all teachers of third cycle from Al-Ain public schools in the UAE that under ADEC management. They were from different age group as well as different years of experiences. The total number of teachers in third cycle is 642 that included 250 male teachers and 392 female teachers who worked in public schools in AL- Ain. In addition, there are 1265 teachers of third cycle in schools that contain second and third cycle that included 695 male teachers and 570 female teachers. Table (1) shows the number of teachers in AL- Ain public schools. Teachers were distributed in schools in Al- Ain city according to Statistical Office of Al-Ain district to a total of 102 schools spread over all levels of teaching (except for kindergarten). The number of secondary schools is around 11 schools distributed between 5 males and 6 females school. In addition to the number of participating schools that contained the third cycle where a total of about (38) school in turn distributed among 25 males and 13 female schools. Table (2) shows the numbers of public schools in Al-Ain.

Table (1) Statistics of the number of teachers in Al-Ain Public school

Total

Numbers of teachers

School cycle

Females

Males

1356

1067

289

Schools of cycle one

(grade 1-5)

815

459

356

Schools of cycle Two

(grade 6-9)

642

392

250

Schools of cycle three

(grade 10-12)

1265

570

695

Participating schools (grade 6-12) (grade 1-12)

4078

2488

1590

Total

Table (2) Number of schools in AL-Ain under ADEC management

Total

Female schools

Male schools

School cycle

34

24

8

Schools of cycle one

(grade 1-5)

19

11

8

Schools of cycle Two

(grade 6-9)

11

6

5

Schools of cycle three

(grade 10-12)

38

13

25

Participating schools (grade 6-12) (grade 1-12)

102

56

46

Total

3.3. Sampling and participants

For the purpose of the study, the researcher used all the population as a sample for the study. Based on this sampling method the researcher "strategically selecting participant from each subgroup"(research book). The researcher used this type of sampling method to compare behavior of participant from different group-male and female- of the population. The participating teachers belonged to various age groups from both sexes with different specialties as well as different years of experiences, and various nationalities.

3.4. The instrument

The researcher used a questionnaire as an instrument to quantify collaborative school culture. Several steps were taken to develop this instrument. The first part of survey instrument was comprised of demographic information. The demographics data was used and include background information on the respondents. It was about participants' gender and nationality. The Nationalities of teachers in the survey were as Emarits, Arabic or Foreign. A such data were used in the analysis and discussed later in this thesis.

Four-point likert Scale items range from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, where strongly disagree ranked 0 and strongly agree ranked 4. The Four-point likert Scale items fell into two categories: collaborative school culture and teachers' job satisfaction. Collaborative school culture items that used in this study were used by Gurment in his study. These items focused on the six components of CSC that used by (Gruenert, 2005). The components were collaborative leadership, teacher collaborative, professional development, unity of purpose, collegial support, and learning partnership. An open end question was added in the instrument which is suggestion to improve the collaborative culture in the school. This was to get in-depth data about the shortage and area to be developed in the school.

A total of 29 statements of closed-ended statements were developed with one open end question. The instrument is presented in the appendix 1.

3.5. Validity and reliability

After the survey instrument developed, the next step was to determine the validity and reliability of the instrument. The content validity of the questionnaire was established by referring to a jury of five specialists in the field of educational leadership from the faculty of education in the United Arab Emirates in the UAE. This jury judged the relevance of the instrument to the study, the belongings of each item to its subscale, and the wording of items. The expert evaluators provided some modification to the statements. The statements were modified and sent for the advisor to confirm the change. After that the questionnaire was translated by experts into Arabic and later reviewed by the advisor.

Subsequently, a pilot testing was conduct in Spring 2013 on 40 teachers in secondary school in the UAE. This is due to the fact that it provides information about deficiencies and suggestion for improvements. Omissions or unclear or irrelevant items should be revised. The reliability of the items of the instruments was measured by using equation of the Cronbach's alpha in SPSS program and that for the instrument at all and each factors. For this study's sample, the reliability of the survey was .935 on Cronbach's Alpha measure. The reliability was .84 for collaborative leadership questions, .766 for the teacher collaboration in instruction questions, .867 for the collaboration in professional development questions, .867 for the unity of a collaborative purpose questions, .867 for the overall collegial support questions and for the partnership with parents questions.

Table 3

Cronbach's Alpha

N of Items

Factors

.935

42

All Items

.84

8

Collaborative Leadership

.765

4

Teacher Collaboration in Instruction

.765

4

Collaboration in Professional Development

.902

3

Unity of a Collaborative Purpose

.861

4

Overall Collegial Support

.867

6

Partnership with Parents

0.7

8

Teacher Satisfaction

3.6. Procedure

3.6.1 Distributing and Collecting Data

After gaining approval from ADEC, and taking permission from the school principals, the Arabic and English versions of the questionnaire were distributed to randomly selected teachers via the relevant director of each school. Cover letter was attached to each questionnaire; such letter delineated the purpose of the study, assures confidentiality and anonymity and explained the voluntary nature of participants (see appendix 1).

Data collection took place on February 2013 before the exams of the trimester two. This was on purpose to let teachers answer the questionnaire without feeling overwhelmed, the teachers were given three days to return the questionnaire to the school principals. After three days the questionnaires were collected and were ready for the entry of data.

3.6.2 Data Entry

After collecting the distributed questionnaire, the questionnaire was coded and has been entered to the SPSS to be ready for analysis.

3.7. Ethical Consideration

All participants were informed that they are free to agree or refuse to participate in the study. Also, they informed that whether participate in study or not will not affect their professional evaluation.

3.8. Limitation and delimitation

This thesis is limited only to Al-Ain high public schools, so results cannot be generalized to all UAE schools. In addition, private schools in Al -Ain were excluded from this study.

Regarding the delimitation of the study, the study will confirm itself to survey the school teachers in Al- ain high schools.

3.9. Summary

The quantitative research study in the form of descriptive research method was used to investigate the effects of collaborative school cutters and teacher satisfaction in Al ain High school. This was achieved by preparing the survey instrument, insuring the validity and reliability of instrument, specifying the target population, distributing and collecting the questionnaire with adequate number of the participant and analyzing data.

Faculty of Education

UAE University

February 12, 2012

Dear teacher,

The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between the collaborative school culture and teachers' satisfaction in Al Ain secondary schools.

Your answer to the questionnaire will be highly appreciated. You answers will be kept confidential and your identity will remain anonymous. Return of an answered questionnaire indicates your consent to participate. The survey should take about 10 -15 minutes of your time.

If you have questions, please contact me at muna.m_1986@hotmail.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Muna Falouqa Al tamimi

First: Demographic Information

Directions: For each of the following items, put (√) beside the choice that best describes you.

Gender: Male Female

Nationality: Emirati Arab Foreign

Second: Collaborative School Culture

Directions: The following are statements describing school culture. Read each statement carefully and put (√) in front of the choice that describes your opinion.

Collaborative Leadership

Survey Statement

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Neutral

(2)

Disagree

(1)

My school principal values teachers' ideas.

My school principal praises teachers who are collaborative.

Teachers in my school are involved in the decision-making process.

My school principal facilitates teachers' collaborative work.

Teachers are kept informed on current issues in the school.

My involvement in policy or decision making is taken seriously.

My school administration schedules time for teachers to work together.

Teachers are encouraged to share ideas with the administration.

Teacher Collaboration in Instruction

Survey Statement

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Neutral

(2)

Disagree

(1)

Strongly

Disagree

(0)

Teachers have opportunities for dialogue about the subjects they teach. .

Teachers spend considerable time planning together.

Teachers take time to observe each other teaching.

Teachers work together to develop instructional material.

Collaboration in Professional Development

Survey Statement

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Neutral

(2)

Disagree

(1)

Strongly

Disagree

(0)

Professional development is valued by teachers in my school.

Teachers at my school collaborate in providing professional development for other teachers.

Teachers share information and resources they obtain for classroom instruction with other teachers.

Teachers help each other integrate ideas they obtain from workshops and conferences.

Unity of a Collaborative Purpose

Survey Statement

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Neutral

(2)

Disagree

(1)

Strongly

Disagree

(0)

The school vision provides a clear sense of collaborative culture for the school.

Teachers support the vision of a collaborative school culture.

The administration supports the vision of a collaborative school culture.

Overall Collegial Support

Survey Statement

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Neutral

(2)

Disagree

(1)

Strongly

Disagree

(0)

Teachers trust each other.

Teachers are willing to help out whenever there is a problem.

Teachers' ideas are valued by other teachers.

Teachers cooperate with other teachers even if they do not teach the same subject.

Partnership with Parents

Survey Statement

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Neutral

(2)

Disagree

(1)

Strongly

Disagree

(0)

Teachers and parents have common expectations for student performance.

Parents trust teachers' professional advice.

Teachers and parents communicate frequently about student performance.

Parents encourage students to perform well.

The principal makes clear what is expected from teachers and parents.

The school administration support parents' involvement.

2-Write three suggestions to improve the collaborative culture in your school:

1………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….3………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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