Welcome to my Professional Learning blog.
My name is Matt Nicoll and I am a high school teacher in New Zealand, interested in improving the classroom experience for my students. I am open to trialing new approaches and hope to use this blog to reflect on my ideas and practices.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Team Teaching

In October this year, I was allowed to go to Melbourne with my Head of Department and the 2014 Head of Mathematics. We went to four very inspiring schools, including John Monash Science School and Dandenong High School. We all agreed that we learned a lot from this visit. There were things we wished we could do, but our architecture will not allow that in the same way as the schools we visited. There were also a lot of things we thought we could adapt and/or adopt without needing to change much at our school.

At John Monash SS and Dandenong HS, we saw a lot of team teaching. They approached it in different ways and both were real food for thought for how we might adapt the teaching and learning at our school.

At John Monash SS the levels are where each House is based. The learning spaces are primarily open-plan, except for the laboratories. We usually saw one teacher leading the instruction while the other moving around providing support to the students. The supporting teacher was also able to add extra details to the instruction. They had built a culture where the teachers were collaborating, not correcting or undermining each other.

A view of a few of the Houses at Dandenong. I can imagine
NZ schools doing this, calling them whanau.
At Dandenong HS, there are seven Houses, each with its own Administration team. These Houses are wonderfully-designed, allowing for team teaching, collaboration, and for student choice. Senior classes are still taught "traditionally", with one teacher per class. The junior classes, on the other hand, are very large but have three teachers working together with these classes. In some cases, this meant teaching the students at different paces, to better cater for their level of language and knowledge. In other cases, this meant allowing students to chose how they worked and having different teachers available to guide them.

At both schools, it was made explicitly clear to us that team teaching requires giving the teachers the time to plan and collaborate together. It is finding/making this time available that is critical if team teaching is to be explored.

I can see this working at my school, despite the "traditional" architecture we currently have. Within my department, there are clear areas of strength that some teachers have that I would love my own students to have access to. It may cause a nightmare for the timetabler, but having more than one class working on the same content and/or inquiries at the same time (and maybe across more than one subject) could allow for this sharing of experitise. But, as already said, this would need to be carefully and deliberately planned.

No comments:

Post a Comment