As teachers we know the importance of trying to build teams within our classrooms. We know that our students will develop interpersonal skills, thinking skills and social skills that will be long-life skills. However do we really pay enough attention to building effective teams of teachers?
Having trained teaches and educational organizations for a while now I would say that teachers’ values and ethic, school cohesiveness and school atmosphere are the main factors having an impact on students learning and on the wider community. We can have the best teachers and tools in the world but if we don’t have a consistent approach to learning and effective working teams then our teaching will have a limited impact.
Team building overview and challenges for teachers
Team building is undoubtedly one of the best ways to build high performing teams whose collaborative work will have an impact on the school and consequently on student performance. There are many ways to build a team spirit among teachers. Of course there are workshops, training sessions, coaching sessions and weekend group reinforcement but I really think that the first step is the will to improve things and teachers should be given a word in teambuilding as the changes will come from them and through them. If teachers are given some freedom to build on projects and implement ideas their classrooms and departments will benefit from it. Teachers should be given the time to experiment their ideas without the burden of paperwork that generally goes with the implementation of new ideas.
The problem met by new teams is the general confusion that exists among team members. Which role does each member have to assume? What kind of relationship should be advocated? How can we use the competencies and experience of individuals to serve a team purpose? Do we need clear established rules and policies or do we leave each member free to reach their targets the way they want?
All these questions have to be dealt with before starting any group work and all members need to have a clear understanding and common agreement on the goals to achieve. That would be the key for the commitment of each member to the success of the team. The vital feature to effective team building will be to work on communication. Is it better face-to-face, through planned meetings, by emailsetc.Do members need some kind of feedback on a weekly basis? This is up to the team to decide and to brainstorm on the best way to improve the efficiency of the team. Therefore building on trust is crucial. You can’t possibly ask your team to communicate freely if some members are not at ease. Promoting open communication where everybody can share his ideas, feelings and emotions helps cooperation skills. Team members need to be able to listen to each other with openness, performance needs to be acknowledged and the contribution of each member has to be praised. Not to mention the importance of a leader in the team to give the way and to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Building efficient teams is difficult but it is also priceless in any schools or organizations to ensure the best learning opportunities for students.