Talk, Planning and Decision-Making in Interdisciplinary Teacher Teams: A Case Study

Feb. 25, 2009

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 15, No. 1, February 2009, 155–176.

A diverse range of social structures, for instance teacher teams, professional
communities and teacher learning communities, are established to advance
collaboration among teachers.
In Norway, Interdisciplinary Teacher Teams (ITTs) have become a common way of organizing teachers in schools, recommended in a national curriculum reform in 1997.

This study investigates the internal structure, social meaning and potential resources for learning and development inherent in the planning and coordination of work in ITT meetings.
Most studies of teacher teams as well as teacher learning communities are based
on teachers’ experiences, expressed in interviews or surveys.
The focus of this study is on what teachers say in teams.
While most studies have addressed within-department, subject-specific teams, this study focuses on interdisciplinary teams.

Team-talk in two ITTs in two different lower secondary schools in Norway has been videotaped and analyzed.
Four patterns of interaction have been identified – preserving individualism: renegotiating individual autonomy and personal responsibility; coordination: assuring the social organization of work; cooperation: creating a shared object or enterprise; and sharing: clarifying pedagogical motives.

The study illustrates patterns in team-talk and  conceptualizes the processes of decision-making that take place in these ITTs.
It also identifies resources for learning and development inherent in certain forms of interaction. The study contributes to the research literature by both focusing on the details of the interaction in team meetings and analyzing the dynamics of the group interaction in the perspective of the situatedness and the object-orientation of team-talk.

Updated: Apr. 27, 2009