Working together can help us plan learning units and solve problems. It can reduce our anxiety, improve our creativity and just help us through the sometimes difficult task of teaching. So why is it, that many educators don’t like teamwork or working together? They’d rather work alone. Perhaps they haven’t had the pleasure of working in a team that functions well, a team that supports, a team that has a common goal.

What is teacher collaboration and T.A.R.G.E.T.S

Teachers who collaborate with others can exchange ideas, hence developing a deeper understanding of their students and their own instructional strategies. This process results in re-construction of knowledge, which facilitates professional development.

According to Villa, Thousand and Nevin, teacher collaboration is two or more people sharing the responsibility for teaching students assigned to their courses. It involves the distribution of responsibilities among people for planning, instruction and evaluation. It doesn’t mean that everything is done in the same way.

This site will help you to grow as a team and guide you with your work. There are activities for each principle to help your team. You can follow the principles at any order, whenever the need arises, but I strongly suggest you start with trust and tone, since that is the basis of all collaboration.

T.A.R.G.E.T.S is a framework created by me in 2017 of seven basic principles for meaningful collaboration. It is created to assist teachers and school administrators who deal with everyday challenges of collaboration.

A drawing of people working together.

Teacher collaboration principles by Sanna Leinonen

  1. Trust each other. 
  2. Know that each of the teachers in the team has unique and needed expertise in tackling the authentic issues of everyday school life. 
  3. Engage in face-to-face interaction and focus on constructive dialogue and reflection.
  4. Work towards a shared goal or goals.
  5. Are all individually accountable for the success or their team and they make an effort for the team to thrive. 
  6. Rely on their teammates, the whole team and their work. 
  7. Build a growth-oriented climate, and share knowledge and skills.

In the following pages you will find activities for each of the principles. Activities that will help your team to function and grow as a true collaborative team!

T.A.R.G.E.T.S. was first created as an Inquiry project for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Education Program.  The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program seeks to improve mutual understanding among teachers, their schools and communities in the U.S. and abroad.  

Since then this site has changed and developed. The site contains personal and professional opinions of Sanna Leinonen, FM., M.A. a Finnish educator, lecturer and coach. The opinions and endorsements on this site are her own and are not endorsed by the J. William Fulbright Association.