Effective teaching teams: Facilitators and barriers
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Within the current context of school reform, teaching teams are being promoted across Australian education systems as the new basis for implementing and sustaining many initiatives that promote improvements in student outcomes and teacher job satisfaction. More recently, the formation of such teams has been identified as a critical issue for Australian middle school reform with teacher teaming underpinning several of the signature features of a middle school philosophy (Pendergast et al., 2005). Factors that enable or hinder the successful implementation of teaching teams can be identified at individual, team, and school levels. The data used in this paper have come from teacher interviews and participant observations during a study into the formation and development of middle school teaching teams over one year. The study involved teaching staff from four middle school (Years 6-9) teaching teams (N = 24) that were operating within purpose-built middle schools in Queensland. One teaching team was studied from each of two outer Brisbane P-12 schools, and two teaching teams were studied from one outer Brisbane high school with a 7-12 class range. Results from this study included the compilation of a list of facilitators and barriers to team formation and maintenance at individual, team, and school levels. It has highlighted a gap between what the middle school literature says about collaboration and teaming and how it is being implemented in these three Queensland middle schools. At an individual level, it takes time for teachers to learn and perfect new forms of instruction (Slavin, 2004). It was also shown to be untenable to assume that collaboration would occur as a natural phenomenon and that teachers would perceive teaming as enhancing their teaching and their students' learning. At a team level, team processes and protocols were shown to need administrative support (i.e., resources both human and physical), and at a school level, the ethos of the school was shown to affect how the norms and customs that shape a school's culture either promoted or frustrated teaming practices.
Teacher educators at work: what works and where is the evidence?
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