There are many different names for Collaborative teaching that we have ventured into at our school this year. It has proven to be successful and communication proving to be the key. As we are still new to this journey we are finding our feet and still working through problems as they arise.
As part of my inquiry this year I am keen to discover what the key components are to making team teaching effective in an innovative learning environment.
If you are team teaching this year and have found a key to your success or identified disadvantages of team teaching it would be great to share your learning.
Great to hear that you are on a journey that is going well this year with collaborative teaching. What school are you? How is your team set up? We are a team of 4 teachers with 100 students in a habitat, a full ILE and have been operating like this for the last 2 years. There are many essential elements to teaming but a fundamental key is having a shared belief, principles, and values that you all form together and agree to. From here, continually reflecting on moving towards accountability within the team. We call this a BPP and have it on show and talk about this a lot. It gives conversations focus towards team beliefs and takes away personal beliefs. This all comes before any systems. We also map our brain quadrants using aHBDI and so we can see our strengths and weaknesses especially during stress which gives us a good understanding of each other but also raises our self awareness. We also map the quadrants in a team model so we can make sure the team has a balanced approach - culture, systems, vision and accountability. Lots of things in place really! :)
I am team teaching this year with one other teacher with 60 students. Our school has a few 'hubs', as well as single cell classrooms.
I think the biggest thing we have found for the students specifically is differentiation for engagement. At the beginning of the term, everyone was on the same boat as we were all getting to know each other and doing similar work. Now that we are deep in our 'curriculum learning' you could call it, we found it really challenging to manage everyone at the same time as students were going at different paces.
We hold workshops for statistics. Originally, we would have given students the tests back and students would have opted into the workshop that they can see they need help with. Unfortunately, majority of our students are new to this kind of environment and we noticed that they struggled with student agency. So, we went through and identified each child to come to the specific workshop, and those who were not with us would be using e-learning or other independent number work. This allowed us to keep a close eye on who would be doing what, and made sure that we touched base with the differing levels.
Aside from this, we use tribes with stronger learners and weaker learners for inquiry-based learning. This allows the ones who need support to be supported. Also, we use licensing system (check out the form about this in this group).
We are still working on literacy, as we are most likely to be grouping. Not very innovative, but most of our students still require a lot of structure as we seem to lose them otherwise. Giving more independence to the higher ability group as they generally need less guidance and have strong student agency.
Collaboration wise between us as teaching partners, we have been planning the skeleton together, and then breaking down each parts. It was definitely time consuming at the beginning, but fortunately we get along really well as people and professionals. We use Google Drive religiously as we even comment to plan now! We are really proud of ourselves :-)
It's not as lonely as single cell days with another adult in the room to talk to. Hope it all goes well for you!
Hi there Cassandra
We have just started in our ILE this year - 2 teachers with 60 Year 7's. We did not really get time to visit other schools, look at others' practice around how it all works so went into it pretty much in the dark! Although we did have the pedagogy in place - focus on agency, self regulation, driving own learning, thinking for self, creating own timetables etc.
What we have found challenging is how long it has taken to form relationships with all 60 children. It is something I did not think about at all. We went into this as ONE class with TWO teachers so right from the start the kids knew we were BOTH involved in their learning and we BOTH needed to form relationships. Even now at the end of Term 2 I still feel I don't know all my kids the way I normally would if I was in a single cell.
Being on the same page with the WHY is crucial. Being on the same page with there needing to be balance in workload is crucial. Having balance in the classroom means the kids see us as equal and equally part of their learning.
Now, my co-teacher of a Term is leaving and I have a new teacher coming in. So the relationship building will start all over again!
Look forward to reading other stories:)
Not a teacher's perspective but a students one...
This video has some great insight into "Learning in a Modern Learning Environment from GRi11 kids perspective."
Might be useful viewing?
Kia ora Cassandra,
I have been reading through a thesis by Neill O'Reilly - The key components to to creating effective collaborative teaching and learning environments. Neill is the Principal at Waitākiri School, a new build school in Christchurch due to the merger of Burwood and Windsor Schools. I notice on the school website there are also links to presentations he has given and links to Q and A's etc. Would be worth exploring. Look forward to working with you again soon.