In more and more schools today, teachers are working in teams to create a new way of delivering information to students. Team teaching involves a group of instructors who work together cooperatively and purposefully. In regular meetings, these team teachers set goals for their course, brainstorm ideas, prepare individual lesson plans, design syllabi and evaluate results of implemented ideas.
The approach of teaching as a team allows for a higher level of interaction between teachers and their peers, as well as between teachers and their students. In this method of teaching, evaluation is a constant. Faculty evaluates students based on their achievements and goals; and students evaluate faculty based on their proficiency in teaching material.
The emphasis of team teaching is growth for both students and teachers. There is also emphasis on shared responsibility, specialization, broadening horizons, balancing initiative and on developing clear and interesting content leading to student development. Team teaching aims to lead to more democratic participation and elevated affective, cognitive and behavioral outcomes. It has been proven that team teaching is beneficial throughout all the levels of education, from elementary school through graduate school.
Team teaching seems to hold the main advantage of breaking free from traditional teaching. When freed of the single-course, single-teacher pattern, everyone involved is encouraged to experiment and practice innovation. Through team teaching, students can be split into as many different combinations as necessary for any particular task. Remedial programs and honors sections are given opportunities to develop more appropriate and effective lessons plans for students with special interests or special needs. Team teaching programs can address the different skills and learning styles found in students, instead of assuming that all students will learn in the same manner.
Because students do not all learn in the same manner, or at the same rate, periods of equal length may not be the most appropriate for all learners. In today’s classroom, there is a wide array of students with varying degrees of demands. Through team teaching, students are given more opportunity to be seen as individuals with specific learning styles. They are exposed to teachers from varying backgrounds and specialties; and therefore given a broader base from which to launch their learning. This alone sets both students and teachers up for successful learning environments.
Team teaching does require commitment on the part of the teacher. It is not the answer to all problems faced by schools, teachers and administrators; but it is a step in the right direction. Team teaching requires planning, time management and a willingness to share. There is a risk of failure; but teachers who engage in team teaching seem to blossom into more open-minded, imaginative, creative beings that work well with others and pass along more balanced learning to their students.
If you see the need for change in your classroom or school and are not a part of a teaching team, look into the possibilities in your area. Team teaching can take place over the internet with web chats, or in person with teachers in your own district.