CAR Project: Collaborate, Learn, Succeed!

By Alain Poirier, Education Consultant and CAR Coach, and Amélie Roy, Education Transfer and Innovation Advisor at the Transfer Center for Educational Success in Quebec (CTREQ).

In schools, the need to work together to innovate pedagogically and enable all students to learn is becoming apparent. Discover the CAR Project: Collaborate, Learn, Succeed, a collaborative movement focused on the success of all students in Quebec.

In recent decades, our societies have undergone major transformations that have led them to deal with increasingly complex and changing realities: a more knowledge-based economy, increasing technological progress, greater social diversity, etc. . The high performance demands and expectations resulting from these transformations are forcing organizations across all business sectors to rethink their operations and move to new work models. In this spirit, collaboration has emerged as a true strategic skill and a lever for innovation in companies and service institutions. The school is no exception.

In the field of education, school employees see their task becoming more complex. They must implement inclusive pedagogy to help all learners succeed and develop to their full potential. One thing is clear: it is impossible to take this responsibility in a so-called silo work model and individual expertise, however great, is no longer sufficient (5). As a result, we see a growing number of school teams changing the way they work, gradually developing collaborative approaches that rely on the interdependence and pooling of each individual’s strengths for the benefit of students. Faced with the current pedagogical challenges in education, it is clear that collaboration is the only solution.

Born in Spring 2015, the CAR Project: Collaborate, Learn, Succeed is an initiative of the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation and the Association of Directors General of Quebec School Boards (ADIGECS). Produced in partnership with the Transfer Center for Educational Success of Quebec (CTREQ), it has been under the direction of the Federation of School Service Centers of Quebec (FCSSQ) since July 2021.

The CAR project aims to support the culture of collaboration in education, strengthen the pedagogical leadership of actors in school organizations and promote the adoption of organizational and pedagogical practices that contribute to the improvement of young people’s learning, success and graduation . Specifically, the CAR project consists of supporting administrators and school staff to develop collaborative approaches to promote the success of all learners.

The CAR project is:

  • More than sixty school service centers (CSS) in Quebec.
  • Nine communities of practice (CoP) composed of general managers and deputy general managers from different CSS who think together to develop collaborative approaches in their organizations.
  • More than 150 communities of practice (CoP) composed of branch directors, executives and supported professionals who learn together to transform themselves into a true professional learning community (CAP).
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) composed of teachers, professionals and school leaders who work together to implement the practices that have the greatest impact on the learning and success of all students in their establishment.
  • A website that provides access to multiple sources (popular texts, reproducible tools, inspiring videos) and reference schools to support collaboration.

For more information, visit the CAR website.

The contribution of collaboration in the school environment

Many researchers argue that collaboration among school staff promotes professional development, as well as the implementation of coordinated and coherent interventions that have a greater impact on student learning and success (4,6).

In his analysis of successful school systems, Michael Fullan identifies collaborative leadership as one of the hallmarks of effective schools (3). In addition, a meta-analysis by John Hattie (2) suggests that the collective effectiveness of teachers is one of the factors that has the greatest influence on student success. In other words, the belief teachers have in their ability to act collectively to promote student success is paramount, hence the importance of developing effective collaborative practices.

Although it is difficult to establish a direct relationship between collaboration and academic success, several studies show that the climate of collaboration positively influences attitudes to school and motivation of students who are themselves success factors (1) .

References

  1. Beaumont, C., Lavoie, J. and Couture, C. (2011). Collaborative practices in the school environment: reference framework in support of training. Center for Research and Intervention on Academic Success (CRIRES), Laval University. https://crires.ulaval.ca/sites/default/files/guide_sec_nouvelle_version.pdf
  2. Donohoo, J., Hattie, J. and Eells, R. (2018). The power of collective effectiveness. Educational Leadership, 75, 40-44.
  3. Fullan, M. & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: the right drivers in action for schools, neighborhoods and systems. corwin.
  4. Hargreaves, A. (2019). Collaboration between teachers: 30 years of research into its nature, forms, limitations and effects. Teachers and Education, 25, 603-621.
  5. Rousseau, N. (2015). The pedagogy of inclusive education (3and ed.). Press of the University of Quebec.
  6. Vangrieken, K., Dochy, P., Raes, E. and Kyndt, E. (2015). Collaboration between teachers: a systematic review. Educational Research Review, 15, 17-40.

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