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Educational Teams: teaching in a different way Heather Fry Centre for Educational Development Imperial College London Barcelona 2007
Main Areas • The course/teaching team: a particular type of educational team? • Some questions about educational teams • My personal experience as part of educational teams • Working with (and helping to create) educational teams • Some propositions for consideration before embarking on or promoting educational teams • Some arguments for and against educational teams
What is a teaching team? • A group of people engaged in curriculum design and/or teaching and supporting the learning of students taking a course or programme. • Course: a unit of teaching, a module. Part of a complete degree programme.
Questions About Educational Teams • How or why do they form? • What happens to role and status in a teaching team? • What happens to choice? • Efficient and Effective? From whose perspective?
Questions About Educational Teams • Permanence or ‘of the moment’? • Do some teaching methods/forms of curriculum organisation ‘demand’ having a team? • Do regulatory requirements demand a team? • Who belongs to a course team? And how many teams can/should an individual belong to?
Maximally, what might be the composition of a teaching team? – – – – – one or several academic teachers an administrator a learning technologist a lab technician a librarian Ph. Ds and Postdocs running seminars and labs a student learning support officer a person looking after pastoral care an educational developer (or the e-learning specialist might combine these roles) – students – others? Does it need an inner core group? How do you get ‘buy-in’ from all? Can only divide tasks once there is an agreed plan for outcomes, teaching, assessment, evaluation: these aspects are interdependent
CED work with teams and groups • A one–off workshop designed for teaching teams: ‘Designing Courses and Curricula’ • An ‘educational interest group’ facilitated by CED: ‘Topic Focussed Learning Sets’
Propositions about educational teams for consideration • A team can focus on a different thing from a course • Need a clear purpose and rationale – shared goals • ‘Top down’ may not work; BUT often need a leader • Most needed in times of change or innovation • Vary in intensity and effectiveness over lifetime • For ‘buy-in’ need outcomes worthwhile to individuals • Can be more or less a requirement for some types of teaching/ curriculum organisation
Propositions about educational teams for consideration • The main costs are financial – money and time • Their output will limit freedom for individual action • They help the whole to be greater than the parts • The composition of educational teams needs careful thought • ‘External’ factors may be among some of the main reasons forming teams – but there main purpose/value should be pedagogic
Arguments for and against course teams? AGAINST • Can take more time and difficult to get everyone together • People are not used to it • May have difficulty reaching consensus IN FAVOUR • A democratic way of working • Shares problems, ideas and solutions • If formed by members’ choice they will have commitment • Provides a forum for discussion of teaching and may prepare the ground for decision-making • Can help with inducting newer staff members Other points…?
Heather Fry Centre for Educational Development, Imperial College London Barcelona 2007