What does a good teaching team look like in a middle school: Revisited

Year: 2018

Author: Main, Katherine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In 2005, Main and Bryer published and article exploring the dynamics of teaching teams as a signature practice in middle schools. In deed, it was argued that team practices represented a critical element for middle years reform in the United States and in Australia and was shown to reduce teacher isolation and as a means of professional support and learning resulting in improved student outcomes. More than 10 years on, the question to be answered is: Are teacher teams still an effective pedagogical strategy to support teachers and to improve student outcomes? This presentation is the result of a systematic literature review of studies since the original article was published in 2005 and includes studies that explicitly examined the effect of middle school teaching teams on teachers and students between 2006 - 2018. From an initial database search that resulted in 1887 articles, articles were included or excluded based on a range of criteria which resulted in 20 articles meeting the eligibility for inclusion in the review. Findings from the review found that teachers continued to report a number of benefits when working in a team including: increased professional communication among team-teachers, increased collegiality; sharing of expertise and resources; improved curriculum integration; and improved problem solving of the day-to-day challenges of teacher practice. Team teaching was also considered good if it (a) facilitated student learning; (b) developed teacher collegiality; (c) contributed to strategies to that supported a comprehensive planning environment; (d) lead to discussions related to the practices of time management; and (e) encouraged effective professional development. Factors that facilitate or inhibit collaborative practices were also identified. However, as in early studies, the key to the benefits of teacher teams to be realised is teachers being trained in the art and science of team practices and having a culture within the school that supported team practices.