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Core Responsibilities (Secondary): Working and Developing Together as a Team


Created on 04 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 June 2013 by ncetm_administrator

 

The effectiveness of all developments within your team relies on you taking your colleagues with you and so the way in which you all work together is crucial.

You can have clear policies regarding, for example, assessment, but these will not be fully successful unless all teachers are actively working to embed these policies in their own practice. You may have a very well established set of planning documents which support colleagues in planning exciting and effective lessons for pupils but these work best when teachers are actively sharing ideas, discussing pedagogy and learning from their work together.

  • Are you a school that recognises the importance of continuing professional development for all its staff and encourages a culture of teacher enquiry and experimentation?
  • Do all teachers respond positively to the challenge of developing their practice?
  • What provision do you have for discussing ideas amongst your teaching colleagues and supporting them in any developments they are making?
  • What mechanisms are in place for collaborative planning and teaching, developing new resources, teaching ideas and pedagogy?
  • How are your colleagues supported in developing rich and effective assessment practices in their classrooms?

This module will help you reflect on these questions. Here is a suggestion of how you might use the materials:

  • look through and discuss (with your line manager/senior leader and your teaching colleagues) the list of example statements (also available to download as a PDF) and decide which best fits your stage of development

    John Smith, Head of Maths at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle has kindly sent us a copy of the statements, which he has modified as a spreadsheet (.xlsx), that he uses for end of year departmental self-evaluation. He has grouped the statements by category. Heads of Departments can circle the box that most closely describes their department and then look at the relevant question prompts for moving forward.

  • use the ‘moving to the next level’ questions to identify the steps which will help you and your colleagues move to the next level
  • use the ‘Stories of change’ (reflections and thoughts from other fellow subject leaders explaining how they have worked on these issues) to form your own next steps
  • record your thoughts in your own learning journal and specific actions and developments in the policy to practice pro-forma. You may also wish to use your Personal Learning Space to record your own thoughts and reflections.. 

Description

The department’s scheme of work is a fixed list of topics to be covered and dates in which to cover them. Text books and other recommended resources are listed alongside the topics

Discussions about teaching and learning might happen informally during break time but these are not structured and there is no expectation within the department that resources will be shared. There is no framework for sharing resources or ideas.

The department’s vision for teaching and learning is a list of isolated statements which are never referred to and bear little relevance to day to day practice.

The department rarely engages in professional development. Any PD that takes place is limited to courses run external providers. If a member of the department attends there is no expectation that they will feedback to the rest of the department.

A teacher’s classroom is seen as a private domain in which they can repeat the same lessons year on year

Moving to the next level

If you are category 4:
  • How easy is it for a student to move from one group to another?
  • How do you know that they will be able to do this without missing out on some content?
  • Will they recognise the approaches used in the new group or will it be completely new for them?
  • How do you stay up to date with changes in education and new pedagogical ideas?
  • What catalyses you and your department to continue to develop new ideas and approaches?
  • How do you know about the good practice that is happening in your department?
  • How do you share the good practice that is happening in your department?
  • If you set your classes how do you know that the top set are engaged in more challenging activities than Set 2? That Set 6 are engaged in more challenging activities than Set 7…?

> Stories of change

Description

The department’s scheme of work is a fixed list of topics to be covered and dates in which to cover them. Text books and other recommended resources are listed alongside the topics. There is space for feedback and extra resources to be added and these are collected at the end of the year to be added to next year’s scheme.

There is an expectation that members of the department will share resources and lesson ideas. A shared folder exists (either a paper folder or a virtual folder) in which worksheets and resources can be placed for other members of the department to find.

The department sometimes engages in PD. This takes the form of attendance at courses run by external providers. If a member of the department does attend they will be given a ten minute slot at the end of the next department meeting in order to tell the department the headlines from the course

Lesson observations happen as a part of the performance management system. There is little focus to the observation and any focus there is is given from somewhere outside of the department.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 3:
  • How often are ideas added to your scheme of work? How could this be done more effectively and efficiently?
  • How does your scheme of work encourage and support all members of your department to develop their teaching style?
  • How are rich tasks shared? Are they viewed as integral to the curriculum or as bolt on activities to be done if there’s time?
  • What is the ratio of time at department meetings given to discussion of teaching and learning against time used for administrative tasks? How might you focus more on teaching and learning if necessary?
  • What catalyses you and your department to continue to develop new ideas and approaches? How do you share and build on the good practice that is happening in your department?
  • How do you decide what your department will work on for the coming year?

> Stories of change

Description

The department’s scheme of work gives the topics that are to be covered along with some recommended lessons which exemplify the departmental vision of good teaching and learning and set the tone for the unit to be taught. There is space for additions and suggestions to be made and these are looked at in departmental meetings.

Teaching and learning conversations take place during departmental meetings and are prioritised over routine paperwork and admin work. There is an expectation that members of the department will share ideas and good practice at the department meeting. There may be some time given to planning a unit of work collaboratively.

The department’s shared vision of good teaching and learning is clearly exemplified in all classrooms

The department recognises its strengths and uses these to develop teachers but is also aware that an external catalyst is sometimes required and courses and other input from external providers to give this. If a member of the department goes on a course there is an expectation that they will lead a session either at a departmental meeting or during time given by SLT.

Focussed peer lesson observations happen as a part of the department’s CPD and time is given for pairs (or groups) of teachers to discuss, feedback and reflect on the lessons observed.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 2:
  • How do you know that the activities in your scheme of work ‘feel’ the same to the students in each classroom in your department?
  • Can your scheme of work help with consistency?
  • Can your scheme of work help to encourage and support all members of your department to develop their teaching and learning approaches?
  • How do you decide on the teaching and learning focus for the professional conversations in your department meeting?
  • Do you have a common view across the department of the purpose for your peer observations?
  • What are you finding out from your peer observations and how are you using the findings?

> Stories of change

Description

The department’s scheme of work is a living document which leads teaching and learning in the department. The department’s vision of good teaching and learning is implicit throughout as well as explicitly outlined on the front page. Members of the department are able to engage in dialogue through the scheme of work, to comment on resources and suggestions. Each unit gives the big ideas which are to be worked on within that unit and there are suggested lessons which exemplify these. Time is given to add to and discuss key units at departmental meetings.

The department’s shared vision for good teaching and learning is clearly exemplified in all classrooms and is articulated and developed.

Departmental meetings focus on teaching and learning. The agenda is driven by the department and focuses on an area of mathematics or mathematics teaching and learning identified as an area to develop. There is a culture within the department of sharing ideas and resources as well as developing these collaboratively.

The department is part of a school learning community and uses its strengths to develop teachers. Teaching is seen as an ongoing learning journey and lessons are an opportunity to engage in some action research. External courses are used as a stimulus where necessary and are integrated into the department’s learning journey. Members of the department feel able to try new ideas and approaches supported by others. Collaborative planning is the norm and there is an expectation that teachers will plan, teach and review some lessons or units of work. SLT support this by allowing the department time to work together.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 1: 
  • How does your department’s vision of teaching and learning fit with the whole school vision?
  • How does the whole school vision of teaching and learning fit with the department’s vision?
  • How do you support reluctant members of your department to push their comfort zone in the classroom?
  • What other structures exist within the department and school to do this?
  • How might you use department time more efficiently or effectively to develop the team?
  • How does the team support new or weaker members of the department?
  • What mechanisms do you have for members of your team working together collaboratively?

> Stories of change



 
     
 
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