< Back to all Learnings

Peer mentorship and collaboration time facilitates growth in teacher practice.

Peer mentorship and collaboration time facilitates growth in teacher practice.

Given the nature of the everyday practices selected, the prototyping teams consisted mostly of teachers and education assistants. While it was important to have other stakeholders (students, parents, administrators, community partners) supportive of the overall purpose and direction of the work, the most significant collaboration time was spent face-to-face with peers either within a specific school, or between participating schools. 

Peer collaboration time was key to building teacher buy-in, sharing learnings, and shifting teacher practice. This combination of reflection, sharing of stories, and a common approach to a shared area of inquiry was powerful. Peer mentorship was an effective way for teachers to share their learnings more broadly and collectively improve their approach to fostering student wellbeing. This finding is corroborated by existing literature on educator practice change, which suggests that teacher learning happens most effectively through peer mentorship and teacher learning teams.1

In SD 70 Alberni, prototyping teams each tried out their own version of the “Be in Nature” practice. One day, two teachers planned to take their classes to the same location, but took different takes on the practice. Laurie Morphet, the WellAhead Community Liaison in Alberni, shared with us that: 

“[One] class had free exploration time on a rigorous hike while the other class who accompanied them booted it further up another trail to see where it went (little to no free time to explore or rest)... Several students in the latter group commented they were tired and wished the hike was shorter compared to the group who stopped to skip rocks, sit and listen to the raging creek or walk on logs.”

Teacher collaboration time allowed teachers to share insights about how to improve the practice. As a result, the prototyping teams proposed that unstructured time outside should be a core component of Be in Nature. 

Shalaway, L. (1985) Peer Coaching ... Does it Work? Washington National Institute of Education Research and Development Notes, September, pp. 6-7