The teacher as an island? A mixed method study on the relationship between autonomy and collaboration

  • Katrien VangriekenEmail author
  • Eva Kyndt


This study assessed how teachers understand and value autonomy, collaboration and the relationship between both. Quantitative analyses (N1 = 1610, N2 = 1408) included a multilevel SEM model and identifying teacher profiles based upon perceived autonomy (curricular, didactical-pedagogical) and autonomy attitude (individualistic/reactive, collaborative/reflective). Interviews (N = 17) were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Three teacher profiles were identified: autonomous collaborative, autonomous individualistic and low curricular autonomy collaborative. Teachers in the first profile reported most collaboration. Results demonstrate the need to take the interaction between autonomy and attitude into account. However, small effect sizes and qualitative results indicate that other factors play an important role. Didactical-pedagogical autonomy should be split up into content-related and classroom teaching–related aspects (demonstrating higher sensitivity to external influences). Moreover, while quantitative results demonstrate a unified collaborative attitude, qualitative findings indicate that openness towards deep-level collaboration differs depending on the domain of autonomy. Finally, besides individual autonomy, autonomy at the level of collaboration is influential.


Teacher autonomy Collaboration Reactive attitude Reflective attitude 



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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Occupational & Organisational Psychology and Professional LearningKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Training and Education Sciences, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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