Collaborative team teaching
For a long time, the teaching environment consisted of a single room, doors closed, and one teacher up the front of the class. Over time, in many education settings, the classroom walls have been removed and teaching occurs in a more open environment with multiple teaching staff contributing to student learning. Modern day classrooms are now open plan, providing more fluid learning environments, and often across campuses. Collaborative team teaching has the opportunity to better support student learning needs, and providing stronger collegiality amongst tertiary educators.
Team teaching is a great way to demonstrate to your students the process of professional collaboration. Two or more teachers allow a wider scope of ideas and concepts, provide opportunities for deeper levels of discussion and debate, and can demonstrate how to professionally debate, disagree or explore differing views on an issue in a respectful manner. We often expect our students to demonstrate these skills, so what better way to assist them in this process than by role modelling this exact behaviour. The video below looks at utilising a team teaching approach in a face-to-face TAFE setting. As you consider the advantages to students and staff, consider how we can adapt these strategies to the online environment. In many cases, the online environment makes team teaching more accessible than in a face-to-face setting.
Formulate clear teaching team roles and responsibilities
Do you have a clear understanding of:
- What your role in is the teaching team?
- What you are expected to do and by when?
- Who you notify or discuss any teaching issues with?
- Do you know the same for the other members of your teaching team?
Strategies: For some examples of strategies on formulating a teaching plan for your teaching team, download the Collaborative Team Teaching Strategies (pdf, 299kb).
Develop effective communication strategies to maximise teaching
The way you communicate as a team is paramount to the effectiveness of your teaching practices. When staff are not in regular contact to plan, implement and review or evaluate teaching practices, the learning experience of students is compromised. And if you are teaching with a team that is across multi-campuses or multi-modes, effective communication is essential for equity in learning. Consider the following questions for teaching communication in your team:
- How often do your team meet as part of the design process?
- Does everyone get to contribute to the decisions made about assessment, course design and potential learning activities?
- How often do you meet as a team (online or face-to-face) throughout the semester to explore the successes and challenges of teaching?
- What technology tools do you use to facilitate communication channels between team members?
- What process do you employ to support each other in peer review and enhancement processes throughout the semester?
Strategies: For some examples on planning a communication strategy for the semester, download the Collaborative Team Teaching Strategies (pdf, 299kb).
Identify complexities and variable in managing team teaching workflows
When you are working within a team, the day to day teaching and teaching administration workflow can be shared evenly amongst teachers to spread the load and give opportunities to engage, and to step back. Consider the workflow through the learning and teaching cycle of semester, and how you are going to ensure that all teaching responsibilities are allocated and performed in a timely manner.
Resources, strategies or assistance
- Buckley, F. (2000). Team teaching: What, why, and how? SAGE Publications Ltd: Thousand Oaks, CA
- Deakin University – Team Teaching: Benefits and Approaches
- State University – Team Teaching: Advantages, Disadvantages
- Contact your School’s CLIPP Learning Designer for assistance with implementing any of the above.