Faces of collaboration: a macro and micro view of collaborative lesson study by arts specialists

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not models of collaboration developed in another country for a different culture could work effectively in the United States with arts specialists in a professional development program. Could American arts specialists truly collaborate over time and value the process over individual learning methods? Could healthy collaborative relationships stand the test of time and pressure? Would they wish to extend those practices with others? Tracking 56 participants and staff through a six month process in a professional development program took place to determine the impact of sustained collaboration. The study examined a macro view of the institute through pre/post surveys, written reflections from guided prompts, and field observations. The micro view of one cadre or team of four visual arts specialists was also studied through journal entries and observations. Results of the study showed a significant success rate with collaboration for the majority of participants and staff evidenced through emergent themes of team building from individual to cadre, cadre vs. cadre, to all cadres vs. outside communities. The impact of outside protocols and "forced collegiality" in design of cadres or teams was also found beneficial to the collaboration process. Four distinct "faces" or profiles of arts specialists through this process were identified and used to track changes in dynamics.