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Engaging diverse student groups in higher education:- reflections on the impact of team teaching Wendy Yellowley and Marilyn Farmer Business School University of Hertfordshire
About the session The research into team teaching in collaboration with Dr Stuart Levy, Monash University, Melbourne What we have done since joining the University Any questions?
Most Institutions offer:- For Students: University places for widening participation Varied assignments Clear assessment criteria Formative feedback Option modules Support for Academic Skills development Student support and guidance For Lecturers: Staff development Peer observation Subject development days Probation Increasingly larger group sizes! Few spend time considering the impact of what goes on in the class room and whether working in a team could make a difference.
What has generated our interest in team teaching? Teaching is usually ‘an isolated activity with limited opportunity for reflection or feedback from peers’. (Knights, Meyer & Sampson, 2007) It is assumed that we will develop our teaching expertise over time – the more we do the better we will get. Evidence suggests that team teaching produces qualitative improvements for lecturers. (Schon (1987) & Argyris (1993)) Research has found that there can be improvements in the student learning experience ………team teaching can improve the capability of students in areas of critical evaluation and analysis. (Austin & Baldwin (1991)) Team teaching has been found to be of particular value with increasingly diverse student populations. (Robinson & Schaible (1995) and Maroney (1995)
Team Teaching – the Research Idea To investigate the impact of team teaching on the student learning experience To explore the impact of team teaching on the lecturers learning and development experience
Team teaching: definitions and variations Three distinct models:- 1.Interactive or fully integrated – two lecturers teaching the class together- same discipline or from different disciplines 2.The participant observer – two lecturers in the teaching room – one takes the session the other observes 3.Rotational models – individual lecturers teach the class separately but split/divide the module (Nead, 1995; White, Henley & Brabston, 1998) ‘A group of two or more lecturers working together to plan, conduct and evaluate the learning activities for the same group of learners.’ Goetz (2000)
Summary of research Two academic years Undergraduate and Post Graduate modules Data collected via questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and informal ‘post–it notes’ Findings and emerging themes captured in article and conference papers
Team Teaching at the University of Hertfordshire – September 2009 to date Human Resource Management module Semester A, 60 students for Single Honours HRM students Two MA HRM modules Semester A and Semester B, 55 students Managing Human Resources module Semester B, 560 students for general Business students
Post it note campaigns – so far…. Feedback suggests that students like: Accessibility team teaching creates Dual teaching seen as involving and supporting learning The different view points presented which stimulates critical thinking The level of organisation and resources provided
Discussion points - team teaching impact on lecturers Innovation – provides a safety net for risk taking Act as role models for students to encourage collaborative learning Creates a climate for critical evaluation and questioning Removes ‘pedagogic isolation’ Provides a supportive climate More fun and rewarding
Team teaching - the challenges Time and financial implications Requires a commitment to co-ordinating, consulting, communicating, and co-operating Trust and respect (as exposes weaknesses and strengths!) Possibility of students exploiting the approach Dangers of ‘contrived collegiality’ being forced on lecturers. (Hargreaves, 1994)
Discussion points - general University class room provides a powerful arena for work place learning – team teaching generates chance to experience and reflect to aid professional development and adapt individual practice (Knights et al, 2007) Team teaching encourages the team to ‘challenge one another’, ‘construct knowledge together’ and ‘build something bigger’ (Lester et al, 2009) Process encourages the action research cycle – plan, act, reflect and re-plan (Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988) Develops small scale ‘community of practice’ between the members of the teaching team (Knights et al, 2007; Murata, 2002) Knowledge spiral (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995) in action – tacit to explicit to tacit knowledge Creates ‘collaborative learning’ opportunity which helps to eliminate the ‘narrowness of view’ of the individual (Feltovich et al, 1996)
Concluding remarks Team teaching offers an alternative teaching and learning strategy to help capture and support the various learning needs of new student populations Although additional staff costs are associated with team teaching these have to be considered against the costs of failing to engage and retain students ‘every student ‘lost’ represents a financial loss for institutions’……but also ‘an opportunity cost through loss of valuable life time for the student’ (Swail, 2006) Critical is the personal interest and commitment of the tutors in being willing to explore different strategies to help support and encourage new student populations.
Questions How many of you have the opportunity to team teach? What are your experiences? What do you see to be the barriers and implementation issues? Can you see situations where it may help in the delivery of modules?
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