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5 FACTORS THAT MAKE TEACHER TEAMS SUCCESSFUL AND MAKE SCHOOLS STRONGER

WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE TEAM

The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, looked at teacher teams at three public and three charter Massachusetts schools located within the same city. All of the schools have a record of successfully serving high-poverty populations. In five of the six schools, teachers met with assigned teams on a regular basis (in the sixth school, teachers were strongly encouraged to collaborate but not assigned to teams). The researchers identified two types of teams:  five factors consistently contribute to a team’s success:

THE CONSEQUENCES OF TEAMWORK

    • Greater consistency across classes and grades. In content teams, teachers developed curriculum and lessons together, with some schools even assigning a rotation of teachers to plan lessons for the rest of their team.
    • Frequent feedback. Instead of having to wait for formal reviews from supervisors, teachers could ask their teams at every meeting for feedback on lesson plans, behavior management, and pedagogy.
    • A support network for new teachers. With pre-organized team meetings, new teachers had colleagues to turn to for advice and support.  

“It turns out that teams can be a very powerful engine of change,” says Johnson, “but only if principals and teachers invest not only time, but also their best ideas, energy, and selves.”