Teaching as a Team Sport
By Lily Jones March 21, 2014
We often talk about the importance of engaging students, but maybe we should talk about engaging teachers. With engaged and engaging teachers, Deeper Learning is bound to happen.
In my teaching experience, I was lucky to work with amazing colleagues who pushed my practice to grow. Thinking back on these relationships, mutual trust, respect, and joy were the foundations for our collaboration. I always knew I had someone on the other side of the wall who I could go to with a perplexing situation, intriguing student work, or to share a laugh over a ridiculous story.
As a teacher recently told me, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Approaching teaching as a team sport makes everyone’s jobs easier, more effective, and more fun. The 10 schools in the Deeper Learning network showcase rich practices for engaging teachers in meaningful collaboration.
1. Critical Friends: Looking at Student Work (New Tech)
One of the most useful professional development experiences I've had was engaging in cross-grade-level critical friends protocols with colleagues as a way of giving each other feedback on our unit plans. Watch the teachers at Tech Valley High School use a critical friends protocol to learn from student work in a structured and useful way.
2. Teaching as a Team Sport (New Visions)
I feel so lucky to have always worked with strong teams of teachers and I wholeheartedly believe in the power of teaching together. The New Visions program places interns in public schools and provides support for teachers through collaboration time and coaching. In this video, watch how the Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry Program is enriched by teachers working together.
3. Teacher Profile: Learning from Feedback and Instructional Coaching: Plan, Observe, Reflect (New Visions)
Seeing teaching as a team sport means making each other better through both positive and constructive feedback. Watch Anna Tabor, a math teacher at Bronx Latin High School, collaborate with her instructional coach and colleagues to fine tune her use of performance-based assessment tools.
4. Inquiry Teams (New Visions)
At Bronx Latin High School, students participate in the Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry Program. But they’re not the only ones learning through inquiry. Teachers regularly collaborate in inquiry teams to reflect on their practices and examine student work.
5. Calibration: Assessing Portfolio Defenses (Envision)
The process of calibrating helps teachers make sure their expectations are aligned with each other’s and it sets the stage for collaborative conversations. Watch teachers calibrate in preparation for assessing students’ College Success Portfolio Defenses.
6. Collaborative Teaching for Interdisciplinary Learning (New Tech)
Cross-subject co-teaching is a powerful way to get students to see interdisciplinary connections through teacher collaboration. The benefit isn’t only for students; teachers’ practices are enriched by collaborative planning and co-teaching.