Accomplishing more through united effort

TEAMWORK

Accomplishing more through united effort

Success of team teaching depends on heightening the educational aspirations of children and developing their latent talent, observes N N Prahallada

In the ordinary sense, the term ‘team teaching’ suggests merely a kind of cooperation among teachers, but in the meaning it is now being given, it stands for much more. It is a way of organising a school, a way of utilising staff and a way of using space and equipment. The heart of team teaching is unity – members of the team plan together, collaborate constantly, interact and communicate without restraint. By adopting this method, teachers can revise procedures and revamp and revitalise programmes to meet the educational needs of their pupils.

In one sense, it is a revolt against the organisational restrictions of the past and a sharp reminder to all that the purpose of school administration is to serve the educational process, not to control it. Team teaching is based on the premise that any school reorganisation must not only conserve the time and talents of teachers, but must be geared to improve the quality of teaching. TEAM refers to “Together Everybody Accomplishes More”.

Team organisation may be understood best, perhaps, against the background of the more common organisational pattern of self-contained classrooms. In the typical self-contained organisations, some thirty four to forty five pupils are assigned to each teacher and each group receives most of the instructions at the hands of one teacher. Whereas in team teaching, groups of teachers take joint responsibility for the instruction of a segment of the school population. Team teaching should be designed to heighten the educational aspirations of children – to find and develop latent talent, to broaden opportunities for children who can make normal progress, and to give extra help to those who need it.

The success depends upon the team leader who directs and coordinates the activities of all team members and the pupils assigned to them.

The team leader should exercise certain general administrative and coordinating functions. He should take the primary responsibility in his/her team for the identification of pupil needs and assignment of pupils to groups. It is the responsibility of the teachers on the team to plan and teach the student group in one or more areas of the school curriculum.

At the elementary level this usually means that the team of teachers will be responsible for the total programme for one or more grades in the school.
At the secondary level, the team may be composed of teachers from only one subject area or it may deal with two, three or more.

Indispensable factors

There are a few factors that are indispensable for the success of team teaching; time for teacher planning, meaningful administrative support, agreement among team teachers on standards, the constructive help of a team leader, clerical assistance for team teachers, students with seriousness of purpose, time for meeting individual students, class size smaller than averages, and frequent meetings with parents.

Advantages

Some of the advantages claimed by the advocates of team teaching are that it facilitates team spirit, teachers can exchange information and view points on various problems related to school, evaluation in this approach is the combined judgement of several teachers and hence it improves the process of pupil appraisal, it furnishes an impetus to improve curricula, the beginning teacher need not feel isolated rather he can secure help from experienced teachers, part-time teachers with special competencies can be employed even though they are not able to instruct full days, during a member’s illness, the others can fill the void with less loss of instructional time, personality clashes can be minimised and specialised abilities of the members can be utilised, and communication lags will be lessened.

A one-teacher per class plan allows little opportunity for sharing methods, procedures and materials. But team teaching takes care of this deficiency on effective lines.

There will be more efficient use of space, materials and equipment. Lastly, judging from its present attractiveness to a large segment of the profession, team teaching should be given a fair trial at every school.

(The writer is an associate professor of Education at the  Regional Institute of
Education, Mysore)

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