|In a Y2 classroom this morning|
Perhaps it works because it's such a complete and concrete process: we plan the class together, deliver it together and then discuss it together. Maybe the teachers are more open to discussing the lesson when it's clear that both of us did some things successfully and others less so. Either way, compared to the 'tried-and-tested' techniques we tortured ourselves with last year, from writing journals to drawing issues trees*, getting into the classroom with the teachers on a regular basis has so far been the only thing to get them thinking comprehensively about what the kids need them to do before, during and after each lesson.
To me, there are a lot of self-evident advantages to team-teaching, not least:
- the lesser burden in materials preparation;
- the diversity of voice and method that each teacher brings to the lesson;
- twice the manpower when demonstrating, monitoring or disciplining;
- the opportunity to observe colleagues in a regular, informal way and through that, picking up each others' skills; and
- the co-operative skills modelled for the pupils by the teachers.
Why, then, did I resist team-teaching for so long? Quite apart from my own prejudices and the fact that the British Council officially discourages it as a method of reflective practice (more on that below), I was trying to put myself in my mentees' shoes, but only managed to get my left foot wedged in. Let me explain: I imagined having an established class of pupils, and being told by my boss that someone would be joining me to team-teach them every two weeks. Without considering the situation too deeply, I just saw myself feeling hugely resentful. But thinking again, it would of course depend on who was joining me in the class. If it was someone who could tell and show me things I wanted to know in order to improve, would I really be so churlishly territorial? No. For better or worse - and with the acknowledgement that I have also learnt an awful lot from spending time with my mentees - my training and experience in communicative classrooms means I know things they want to know.
|In a much better resourced Y1 classroom earlier this week|
Have you ever team-taught as a tool for reflective practice? How was it for you?
* Has anyone in the history of anything really had their eureka moment after drawing an ISSUES TREE? Double, triple ugh.