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The social fabric of elementary schools: a network typology of social interaction among teachers

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While researchers are currently studying various forms of social network interaction among teachers for their impact on educational policy implementation and practice, knowledge on how various types of networks are interrelated is limited. The goal of this study is to understand the dimensionality that may underlie various types of social networks in schools. We assessed seven types of social interaction using social network data of 775 educators from 53 Dutch elementary schools. The quadratic assignment procedure, multidimensional scaling and network visualisations were used to discern underlying dimensions that may explain the interrelatedness of these seven types of social networks. Findings suggest small to moderate similarity between the seven forms of social interaction. Results support a distinction between instrumental and expressive networks and suggest a second dimension of mutual in(ter)dependence to explain differences in social interaction among teachers. Implications for practice and research on teacher collaboration are discussed.
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Keywords: social network; teacher collaboration; teacher interaction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Education Studies,University of California, San Diego,CA, USA 2: Department of Educational Organisation and Management,University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands 3: Department of Child Development and Education,University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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