How to Help Your Team
Educators have the tremendous responsibility of preparing our future generations. They can most effectively accomplish this task by collaboratively working in teams to ensure high levels of learning for all students. The collective journey isn’t a simple step-by-step procedure; rather, it is an exciting, challenging, highly rewarding, and worthwhile experience as greater numbers of students bring their dreams within reach while teachers experience continuous professional learning throughout their careers.
The Purpose of Help Your Team
Help Your Team focuses on the work of collaborative teams in a professional learning community (PLC). Its purpose is simple: to give teacher teams a resource for solving common challenges that arise during the collaboration process. Our goal is to bring together our varying experiences and perspectives to develop a practical and valuable resource for educators around the world. We were energized by the idea of sharing proven strategies and targeted tactics we’ve learned along the way that will assist collaborative teams to overcome many of the problems they face.
As we processed the thought of developing this book together, we were struck by the fact that we would face some of the same challenges collaborative teams face in schools! These included, but were not limited to, honouring differing perspectives, overcoming cross-country communication, and considering varied education styles. Experiencing these trials while writing the book only strengthened our resolve that this was a worthwhile venture!
We decided that we would not only share strategies and processes to help teams overcome common team challenges; we would also model some of these strategies as we compiled the elements of this book. Essentially, we would not just “talk the talk” but “walk the walk” as we found ways to collaborate, communicate, and in the end, come to consensus on the essential elements of this book. Much like a collaborative team, we developed norms, held frequent collaborative meetings, and reached consensus in a variety of target areas. It was a refreshing learning process for all of us. In the end, we functioned as a collaborative team of authors working interdependently toward a common goal to which we held one another mutually accountable—the development of this book.
In our collective experience of teams pursuing high levels of learning for every student, team members will inevitably run into challenges that, more often than not, are frustrating to their work and progress. These common team challenges are predictable, as the majority of teams face them sometime during their collective, collaborative work. With help from teachers and teams across the United States, we have identified these predictable challenges and questions. When they are resolved, rising above these trials helps teams make the most progress toward ensuring that all students learn at high levels.
In the Book
Each chapter addresses common team concerns and questions, along with a variety of ideas, templates, processes, and strategies to help teams get unstuck.
The structure of each chapter follows a similar format:
- A short but familiar scenario describing the common team challenge the chapter will address (School and staff names are fictional and used for reader context. We developed these scenarios from frequently asked questions we have received throughout our careers as educators and educational consultants.)
- What the experts say about this challenge
- Common questions along with targeted answers, proven strategies, and various process templates to help teams solve the challenge
- Ideas for coaching teams through these strategies and practices (In this book, coach refers to any stakeholder who is encountering challenges and seeking a solution.)
- Additional help from proven outside resources
Chapter 1 discusses how to organize your school into the most effective types of teams. Chapter 2 addresses the challenging questions of how to manage team members who disengage from or disrupt the process, while chapter 3 discusses how teams can determine what students should know and be able to do. Chapter 4 offers readers strategies for planning targeted, effective team interventions based on the response to intervention (RTI) process. Chapter 5 describes how collaborative teams can work together effectively in a PLC, while chapter 6 helps you learn how to transform your school culture to one that is positive and supportive. Chapters 7 and 8 focus on how to include both nondepartmental staff members and singleton teachers in collaborative teams in a PLC. Finally, the epilogue concludes the book by offering cautions for collaborative teams, strategies for working through team conflicts, and ideas and actions teams must commit to in order to be highly effective.
We are excited to share these tips and tools with full confidence that, when implemented, they will give your team the skills necessary to solve common team challenges. As we begin this important journey to be the best we can be for the students we serve, the work starts when you become a member of a collaborative teacher team.
Let’s get started.
From Help Your Team: Overcoming Common Collaborative Challenges in a PLC at Work® by Michael D. Bayewitz, Scott A. Cunningham, Joseph A. Ianora, Brandon Jones, Maria Nielsen, Will Remmert, Bob Sonju and Jeanne Spiller.
Michael D. Bayewitz, Scott A. Cunningham, Joseph A. Ianora, Brandon Jones, Maria Nielsen, Will Remmert, Bob Sonju & Jeanne Spiller
Overcome common struggles encountered by collaborative teams in PLCs with this book written by Professional Learning Communities at Work® experts. This practical book will guide team building for teachers and staff in order to create highly effective teams committed to learning for all.
Buy now at Hawker Brownlow Education