22 April, 2016
Various structural and instructional practices in a school
- Pairing a group of teachers (typically between four and six) with a group of sixty to eighty students.
- Permits teachers to discuss the students they have in common and to establish stronger teacher-student relationships based on an improved understanding of the students and their specific learning needs. In most cases, a team will be made around the core-subject-area teachers in English language arts, math, science, and social studies, but the particular composition of teams may vary widely from school to school. Guidance counselors, special-education teachers, and other specialists are commonly assigned to teams.
- Horizontal teaming: the grouping of students and teachers at a specific grade level.
- Vertical teaming: the continuation of a horizontal team across numerous grades, such as the seventh and eighth grades or ninth and tenth grades. With vertical teaming, the student group typically remains intact, while the team of teachers assigned to them changes. Vertical teaming may also be called looping, a term that specifically refers to the practice of grouping students with the same teacher (in the elementary grades) or group of teachers (in the upper grades) for two or more years.
- To provide a more personalized learning experiencefor students—i.e., to make sure that students are well known by adults in the school, that their learning needs are understood and addressed, and that they receive the social, emotional, and academic support from teachers and staff that they need to succeed academically and remain in school.
- A more common approach for grouping students
- Identifying course assignments in high school.
- Teaming is often used as a proactive strategy for addressing students struggling with behavior and attendance, failing courses, or dropping out during the first two years of high school.
- Teaming is one of many tactics educators may use to obtain consistent, supportive, understanding relationships with teachers and adults appears to have a positive effect on learning, emotional growth, and social development. While teaming is sometimes used in the upper grades of high school, it is far less common during these years, in part because teaming is based on the specific developmental needs of students in their early adolescence.
- In high school, teachers may feel that teaming is a “middle school” strategy that doesn’t motivate students to develop independence and self-reliance.
- Teaming may be seen as restrictive academic options for students, particularly in high school, because they may have less choices about which courses and teachers they can take.
- In high schools, team teachers may have fewer students than do teachers in the upper grades (for example, a ninth-grade team teacher might have eighty students, while an eleventh-grade teacher may have a hundred or more), which can lead to resentment among those who have to teach more students.
- Teaming can introduce a variety of scheduling and logistical difficulties. For example, at the high school level students tend to take a wider variety of courses, which means they have fewer courses in common. In middle schools, teaming is often logistically easier because students tend to take the same core course of study.
- Teams may not be provided adequate time to meet and discuss student needs. Without sufficient meeting and planning time, teams may not be able to function optimally or as they were intended, which can undermine both commitment and effectiveness.
- Conflicts or tension could arise among team members, and some teachers may not embrace the strategy, which could have a negative effect on team culture and collaboration.
- Parents may not like the idea of their child staying with the same teacher or teachers for multiple years, and they may request their child be transferred to a different team because of problems with a certain teacher.
- A lack of consistent or clear communication could lead to confusion, frustration, or disorganization within teams, and the personalities of some team members may lead them to dominate discussions or assert too much control.