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Teacher Teaming - Opportunities and Dilemmas

Teacher Teaming - Opportunities and Dilemmas

Researchers and educators alike praise teams for keeping faculty motivated, providing focus for efforts to improve student performance, and enhancing the development of professional community. But teaming also can create dilemmas for schools. This brief examines some of the potential conflicts between teacher teaming and the development of schoolwide professional community. According to this brief, professional community in a school is strong when the teachers demonstrate five critical elements: 1?Reflective Dialogue: discussion which forms the basis for shared norms, beliefs and values that shape plans for action. 2?De-Privatization of Practice: Teachers share practice ?in public,? learning new ways to talk about what they do and building new relationships with peers. 3?Collective Focus on Student Learning: Teachers assume that all students can learn at reasonably high levels. A mutually felt obligation keeps teachers committed to overcoming the often-daunting obstacles that students face outside of school. 4?Collaboration: Teachers feel encouraged to work together to develop shared understandings of students, curriculum and policy, to produce materials and activities that improve instruction and assessment, and to revamp staff development. 5?Shared Norms and Values: Teachers affirm common values that support a collective focus on student learning. Within a strong professional community, teachers and administrators continually examine their practice and the conditions that affect their work, with the shared goal of improving student performance. Members of the community feel a mutual sense of support, which sustains those who want to try new methods and ideas. As a result, teachers are more likely to feel they?ve chosen a socially rewarding profession.

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