Teamwork in the Classroom Presented by Kris Delaplain April 12, 2016
Agenda Introductions Define the team and specify roles and responsibilities of team members. The importance of communication between team members. Teaming to support students based upon classroom scenarios.
Defining the “TEAM” • A Team consists of members who join in the common purpose of serving students by: • Identifying student needs. • Establishing priorities. • Deciding who does what with whom for how long using what resources.
Communication Most of our frustration at work is due to a lack of understanding surrounding what is expected of us. (John Maxwell)
What Does it Take to Make a Good Team a Great Team? • Communication • Valued membership • Respect • Common goal • Open-mindedness • Cooperation • Sense of humor
Activity: Defining your Team Handout • Who are the members of your team? • List the role each member plays. • List the responsibilities of each member within the school and the team.
Make Sure You Stay in Your Lane Consider: • What would happen if the dentist and the dental hygienist didn’t “stay in their lane?” • What about the ER Doctor and nursing staff?
Defining roles • What’s my job? • What’s not my job? • Whose job is it? Whether you are new or experienced, it is important…to clearly understand the difference between teachers’ roles and …[the paraprofessional’s] roles as members of instructional teams (Pickett, et. al, 2007, p 15)
The Teacher’s Role Teachers… • Identify learning needs • Plan lessons • Modify curriculum or instructional methods • Evaluate the effectiveness of the instruction • Involve parents in their child’s education • Manage behavior • Create a positive learning environment
Paraprofessional’s role • Paraprofessionals assist teachers in achieving the learning goals for students by carrying out tasks developed by and assigned to them by teachers. • Paraprofessionals… • Accept and complete assigned tasks • Respect and work collaboratively with others • Maintain a positive and caring environment • Communicate often with team members • Follow policies concerning confidentiality, security, and safety • Paraprofessionals responsibilities to the teacher • Adjust to changing needs, demands, and tasks • Engage learners in activities developed by the teacher • Follow behavior plans created by the teacher • Assist in collecting data in order for the teacher to make instructional decisions • Communicate challenges, opportunities, and experiences at periodic meetings • Perform tasks only for which they are trained
Activity: Whose Role is it? Work in partners to determine if the teacher, the paraprofessional or both are responsible for the task. Place a checkmark in the correct column of the most appropriate person(s) to be responsible. Discuss your choices.
Section I Summary There are many factors that make a ‘good’ team a ‘great’ team. Team members each have a role and a responsibility to the team. Each members role and responsibility must be defined in order to create a positive learning environment.
Section 2: Good Communication Builds Effective Teams
Use Effective Communication Skills • Demonstrate professionalism • Use correct grammar, speak and write clearly • Avoid slang and profanity • Be a positive role model by the way you speak and act • Avoid negative talk about anyone! • Listen with the intent of understanding the message (e.g. “So, what I hear you saying is…”)
Use Effective Communication Skills • Ask questions • Paraphrase to check that you understand • Seek clarification and additional information • Encourage others to talk and share • Maintain a positive and upbeat attitude • Be able to explain a problem or give information in a concise, factual manner • Stay calm and cool
Use Effective Communication Skills • Share information in a timely manner • Focus on the positive aspects of a difficult situation. Good things can come out of tough situations. But, it takes work to discover and capitalize on them. • Acknowledge the contributions, knowledge, and expertise of others. Write a goal for improvement in one of these areas? How can I make it a good habit?
Developing a Communication System How do classroom teachers paraprofessionals communicate? Verbally? Non-Verbally? Print, digital technology, body language, hand signals How strong is your system of communication?
Developing a Communication System • What do we need to communicate about? • Classroom routines and scheduling • Individual student progress • Clarification questions • Clarifying roles and responsibilities • Curriculum planning • Request assistance • Emergencies
Three Components of Positive Communication When communicating with others (i.e. teachers, students) we need to be aware of: • the words we choose • how we say the words • our body language
The Words We Choose Teacher in Learning Support Classroom: “Alex, when you are typing your report, why do you type two spaces after every word?” Student in Learning Support Classroom: “Well Ms. B., Mrs. Smith told me this must be doubled spaced.”
How We Say the Words Matters “I didn’t SAY you took my lunch.” “I didn’t say YOU took my lunch.” “I didn’t say you TOOK my lunch.” “I didn’t say you took MY lunch.” “I didn’t say you took my LUNCH.”
Activity: Our Body Language What are some ways your body language could send mixed-messages to your team members and/or students? Fill in the bubbles for the next 3 slides.
What Are You Saying? She is really frustrated with me! This headache is terrible!
What Are You Saying? I am very interested in your good work, Alisha! She likes me best because I am a princess!
What Are You Saying? It is freezing in here! I can’t believe you just did that!
Avoid Communication Breakdown Consider how your attitudes, bias, or feelings may influence your communication. Be aware of similarities and differences, (i.e. points of view, education levels, experiences). Develop a shared vocabulary and system of nonverbal cues Adapted from Pickett, A.L. (1986)
Effective Communication Strategies Team Members • specify task directions and expectations proactively; • are willing to ask for clarification, when needed; • utilize each other’s special talents and interests; • create an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, and respect. Adapted from Pickett, A.L. (1986)
Talking Through an Issue When effective communication is in place, problems are more easily discussed and solved.
The Solution-Finding Process Even in the most effective teams, problems can arise. It is important to take the necessary steps to address the conflict within a respectful process. We often may not be aware of all of the factors that go into making a decision.
The Process of Finding the Solution! • Identify and describe the problem • What is the problem? • What is not working? • What factors are contributing to the situation? • Who is involved in the situation? • Who is affected and how? • Define and determine the cause of the problem • Decide on a goal and identify alternative solutions
The Process of Finding the Solution! 4. Select a course of action • Which solution is under the team’s control? • Which one will meet the needs and achieve the goal? • Which is least disruptive and easiest to implement? 5. Implement and evaluate the solution • What resources are needed? • Who will do what? • What is the timeline? • Evaluate the solution and the process used to get there • Did we achieve the goal? • Was the process effective?
Characteristics of Effective Teams Using the handout, circle the number showing to what degree you believe these effective team characteristics are implemented in your team. 1 2 3 4 5 ____________________________________________________ Absent Working on it We’ve got it!
Characteristics of Effective Teams Compare notes! What are the areas of disagreement about degree of implementation? What are the areas of agreement? Set a goal for improving one or two of the characteristics Create a plan on how to do so Follow up and follow through!
Section 2: Summary Communication is a key characteristic of effective teams. Teams need to have a communication system defined to ensure that all members are informed and comfortable. Build a solution-finding process as part of the team communication system.
Section 3: Teaming to Support Students in the Classroom
A Positive Environment Promote a positive learning environment for all! Special education paraprofessionals support teachers’ efforts in maintaining a positive, proactive environment. This is one of the most important things you can do for students. A positive, supportive learning environment encourages learning. Students must feel safe to inquire, participate, collaborate, and study.
A Positive Environment: The Team The team interacts often to ensure that all on the team are “kept in the loop.” Adults confer and plan with the common goal of advancing learning of students. Adults speak to students, and each other, in kind and respectful ways, never yelling or being unkind. Paraprofessionals follow the guidance of teachers. Disagreements are not displayed in front of students.
A Positive Environment:The Students Model appropriate academic and social behavior Address the needs of ALL children and adults Offer encouragement Answer questions Praise on-task behavior; redirect off-task behavior Thank a student for follow directions promptly Assist students in problem solving
The Team: The Four Knows… • Know yourself • Know your partner • Know your students • Know your stuff Article: Keefe, E.B., Moore, V., Duff, F. The Four “Knows” of Collaborative Teaching Council For Exceptional Children, May/June 2004
Teaming Scenario OneTeaming Scenario One The teacher asks the paraprofessional to develop and teach a social studies lesson to a student. The paraprofessional asks the teacher for some information and guidance. The teacher responds, “Oh, it doesn’t make a difference how you do it, but I know you’ll do a great job.” Identify the ineffective teaming practices in this scenario and describe possible solutions.
Teaming Scenario Two A parent of a student in your program asks the paraprofessional’s opinion about the teaching skills of the classroom teacher. She isn’t happy with her child’s progress and thinks the teacher is incompetent. How might the paraprofessional respond to this situation to ensure confidentiality and to honor the team relationship?
Teaming Scenario Three A paraprofessional has been assigned to work as a 1:1 paraprofessional for a student with complex needs in the third grade class. List information the team should share on the first day to effective serve the student.
Teaming Scenario Four The teacher is showing the students double-digit addition on the board. The paraprofessional notices that a student is talking with a classmate, distracting them from listening to the teacher. • Discuss with your team, how both the teacher and the paraprofessional should respond in this situation. • How could the team be proactive in keeping this problem from occurring in the first place? What class rules need to be established?