Finding time to engage in Effective Educator Teams, such as PLC or MTSS teams, within a school or district is not an easy task. Compared with teachers from Asian countries, American teachers spend 20% more time in their individual classrooms according to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). This leads to less time to collaborate and plan.
Despite this lack of time, teacher collaboration is crucial to improve student outcomes. The question is, how do teachers engage in Educator Teams knowing how little time they have? Our model consists of six main components (Figure 1) that help build teacher capacity to engage in Educator Teams. These components include norms, roles, and climate; consistent protocols; clear communication plans; shared, articulated, and measurable goals; an accountability process; and a defined timeline throughout. Each component is defined below
Norms, Roles and Climate
The first component in our model is the creation of norms, roles, and climate. An example of a norm might be that everyone arrives on time to work. An example of a role might be to have a File Keeper who organizes important team files. Once these are in place, the climate of an educator team will form naturally.
The second component in our model is consistent protocols. Consistent protocols for data analysis, goal setting, action planning, trust-building, communication, and shared decision making are crucial to ensure that team processes lead to success. A few questions to consider when identifying your protocols are: what do you want students to know?; how will you know if they have learned it?; what will you do if they don’t learn it?; and, lastly, what will you do if they already know it?
Clear Communication Plans
The third component is to have a well developed and documented plan to communicate a team's activity. This communication plan must provide for communication of goals and activities between members, teams, educators, the school staff, and the school community at large. This includes your students. If your students can see the end-in-mind for a particular unit clearly, they will be more likely to succeed!
Identifying Shared, Articulated, and Measurable Goals
Another component of our model includes identifying your SMART goals: Shared, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. To identify these goals, brainstorm areas you believe might need improvement. From there, cross-reference these ideas with your district’s goals and focus on those that are aligned. Once this is done, write out your goal so that it is clear and communicates the objective. For example, if your goal is to have ¾ of your students reading at grade level according to Fountas and Pinnel by year-end, your goal would look like this: “75% of students will be reading at grade level according to the Fountas and Pinnel Benchmark by June 2021.”
The fifth component of our model is to identify an accountability process. Building (or District) oversight and leadership are essential for team success. Leadership must partner with teams to review the team’s work, provide feedback, recognize their value, and integrate the work into the larger school infrastructure.
Defined Timeline Throughout
The last component is to define a timeline. With such limited time out of the classroom, defined timelines guide teamwork completion and communication.
It takes commitment, but if you follow this model, you will have created an Effective Educator Team that maximizes the time teachers have outside the classroom.
If you would like to learn more about our support programs, contact our Director of Professional Development, Karen Matso, at karen.matso@DemonstratedSuccess.com.
Works CitedEduSkills OECD Follow. TALIS 2018 - What Do Teachers Tell Us about Their Work and What Matte... 19 June 2019, www.slideshare.net/OECDEDU/talis-2018-what-do-teachers-tell-us-about-their-work-and-what-matters-to-them.