PZiS – Professional Cooperation in Schools. A Study Analyzing Cooperation Practices in Zurich Schools

Duration: June 2009 to December 2010

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Katharina Maag Merki
Research assistant: Dipl.-Päd. Silke Werner

Cooperation partners: Dr. des. André; Kunz, Prof. Dr. Reto Luder, University of Teacher Education Zurich

The PZiS study was carried out in the Chair of Theoretical and Empirical Studies of Educational Processes in Schools on behalf of the Directorate of Education of the Canton of Zurich and in cooperation with the University of Teacher Education Zurich.

The point of departure for this study was the necessity for cooperation among teachers arising from a) the legal regulations of the Canton of Zurich, b) the reform measures for integrated support of children with special educational needs, and c) various studies demonstrating the importance of cooperation for the achievement of high quality in schools. The research questions were:

  1. In what form and to what extent are teachers currently cooperating at compulsory schools and Tagessonderschulen (special needs day schools) in the Canton of Zurich? What is the main focus of their cooperation?
  2. How fruitful do teachers consider the existent forms of cooperation to be for their own teaching work, for instructional development, and for the school climate?
  3. What factors are key in fostering cooperation from the teachers’ point of view?
  4. How do teachers evaluate the contextual conditions for cooperation in the school?
  5. What are the success and risk factors for professional cooperation between teachers in the schools?

Quantitative and qualitative data collection and evaluation methods were used to explore these questions. In a first step, a thirty-minute standardized questionnaire survey was conducted at 25 compulsory schools and three Tagessonderschulen (special needs day schools) in the Canton of Zurich (random selection, controlling for the contextual factors school form, school size, and school administration experience) with all teachers employed at the school since the 2008/2009 school year and teaching a minimum of four classes per week. In a second step, the results of this survey were used as the basis for choosing four schools representing contrasting cases. At them, school administrators and approximately four teachers met for a “focus day” to take part in focus group discussions in varying constellations (specific to the school and the form of cooperation). Participation in both the questionnaire survey and the focus group discussions was entirely voluntary. In a third step, to test the results of the quantitative and qualitative data analyses, a communicative results validation was carried out in the form of an “expert hearing.” This also served as a forum for discussing the feasibility and practical relevance of recommendations derived from the results with the various stakeholders.

Current Publications:

  • Kunz, A., Maag Merki, K., Werner, S. & Luder, R. (2013). Kooperationsgefässe integrativer Förderung und deren Gelingensbedingungen aus Sicht der Lehrpersonen und pädagogisch-therapeutischen Fachpersonen (S. 67-79). In M. Schüpbach, A. Slokar & W. Nieuwenboom (Hrsg.), /Kooperation als Herausforderung in Schule und Tagesschule./ Bern: Haupt Verlag
  • Werner, S. (2012). Wie kommt Kooperation in die Schule? Zum Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Interventionsidee und schulpraktischer Umsetzung (S. 135-148). In E. Baum, T.-S. Idel & H. Ullrich (Hrsg.), /Kollegialität und Kooperation in der Schule. Theoretische Konzepte und empirische Befunde./ Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.
  • Werner, S., Maag Merki, K., Kunz, A. & Luder, R. (2010). Professionelle Zusammenarbeit in Schulen. Blick über den Zaun: Kooperation an Zürcher Volksschulen. /SchulVerwaltung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 21/ (12), 334-335.